The Royals announced they have signed right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino to a minor league deal on Thursday. Despite a transaction freeze, MLB teams can still sign players that did not end the season on a 40-man roster to minor league contracts.
Royals RHP Arodys Vizcaino's minor-league contract is worth $1 million, source tells The Athletic. He'll earn an additional $500,000 if he makes big-league club. A classic Royals high-upside reliever signing. Was dominant a few years ago. Has dealt with some injuries. Major velo.— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) January 13, 2022
The 31-year old Vizcaino was once considered one of the top prospects in baseball as a young player, but has had injury problems most of his career. In parts of seven big league seasons, he has pitched in 194 1⁄3 innings with 10.1 strikeouts-per-nine innings, a 3.01 ERA and 50 saves. His best season came in 2017 when he posted a 2.83 ERA in 62 games with the Braves with 64 strikeouts and 21 walks in 57 1⁄3 innings, good for 1.6 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference. Vizcaino last pitched in the big leagues in 2019, missing the entire 2020 season after labrum surgery, and pitching in just seven games in Triple-A last year due to elbow issues. Vizcaino is a fastball-curveball pitcher, with a heater that runs from 96-98 mph.
The Royals have indicated that bullpen depth will be a priority this off-season, and if healthy, Vizcaino could compete for a spot in the late innings with Josh Staumont, Scott Barlow, and Jake Brentz. The Royals also added free agent reliever Taylor Clarke before the transaction freeze, and will likely have Domingo Tapia, Ronald Bolaños, and Dylan Coleman, among others, competing for spots.