The Red Sox have signed right-hander Dan Altavilla to a two-year minor league contract, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The length of the deal reflects Altavilla’s health status, as he underwent Tommy John surgery last June and will miss at least half of the 2022 season.
Between a season-opening calf injury and then his elbow problems, Altavilla only pitched 1 1/3 innings over two games with the Padres in 2021. The righty has appeared in each of the last six MLB seasons, though in a somewhat limited capacity (116 total innings) that reflects his inconsistency. Altavilla has a solid 26.1% strikeout rate over his career, but a 12.1% walk rate and 12.4% home run rate have limited his effectiveness out of the Seattle and San Diego bullpens.
With a fastball that averages 96.7 mph, Altavilla brings plenty of heat, and the Red Sox are betting that they can harness that potential once the right-hander is healthy. Given the usual 12-15 month rehab period time for Tommy John patients, Altavilla could potentially return for a good portion of the coming season, if his recovery process goes smoothly. The additional year on the minors contract gives both Altavilla and the Sox some extra security in giving him all the time he needs to get back into form.