The Royals and right-hander Dan Altavilla are in agreement on a minor league deal with an invite to major league Spring Training, reports Jon Heyman of The New York Post. The righty is a client of the MAS Agency.
Altavilla, 31, is coming off three mostly lost seasons due to June 2021 Tommy John surgery. He later signed a two-year minor league deal with the Red Sox, with that club realizing Altavilla likely wouldn’t contribute much or anything at all in 2022. He returned to the mound in July of 2023, making four appearances in the Complex League and another four in High-A. In his 12 innings pitched, he allowed four earned runs, walked five opponents and struck out seven. The Sox released him in August.
He didn’t sign with another affiliated club as the season was winding down but did go to the Dominican Republic for winter ball. He’s made 10 appearances for Tigres del Licey, with nine strikeouts, three walks and two earned runs allowed. Heyman reports that he was hitting 98mph in that showing.
Prior to the lengthy injury odyssey, Altavilla had some major league experience with the Mariners and Padres, showing an ability for big strikeouts but also control concerns. He currently has a career earned run average of 4.03 in 116 big league innings. He struck out 26.1% of batters in that time but also walked 12.1%.
The Royals have plenty of room in their bullpen for some guys to step up and take jobs. Scott Barlow and Aroldis Chapman were both traded last year, removing two of the higher-leverage guys. They have since acquired Nick Anderson, but there’s still not a lot of certainty in the relief mix. If Altavilla is in good form and gets a roster spot, he could be retained for another season via arbitration since his service time is still below the five-year mark. He is out of options, however, meaning he wouldn’t have the ability to be sent back down to the minors without being exposed to waivers.