Altavilla, now 30, signed a two-year minor league deal with the Sox going into last year. That was a reflection of the fact that he underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2021 while with the Padres. He was outrighted by that club and became a free agent at season’s end but wasn’t likely to be able to provide too much in 2022, which led to the two-year deal with Boston. Such deals are somewhat common for players facing long rehabs, allowing the player to lock in some money and access team facilities while giving the club some longer control over their services.
The righty didn’t make it into any official action last year and began 2023 on the injured list as well. He finally began a rehab assignment over a month ago and made eight appearances in the minor leagues since then. He tossed 12 innings in those, allowing four earned runs for an ERA of 3.00. However, his 14.3% strikeout rate and 10.2% walk rate were both uninspiring in that small sample. It seems the Sox didn’t have much confidence in him providing much value to them down the stretch and have let him go.
He could still get chances elsewhere based on his pre-Tommy John track record. He made 119 appearances in the majors from 2016 to 2021, split between the Mariners and Padres. He had a 4.03 ERA in that time, with a high 12.1% walk rate but a strong 26.1% strikeout rate. He averaged around 97 mph on his fastball for much of that span and was able to touch triple digits at times. If he’s able to get himself back on track and earn a roster spot, he’ll have the potential to be retained for multiple years as his service time count is currently at four years and 63 days.