The Royals have signed veteran reliever Dan Altavilla to a minor league deal, according to reporter Jon Heyman. Altavilla is a 31-year-old right-hander who has spent parts of six years in the big leagues. He has a career 4.03 ERA in 116 career innings, although he has never made more than 50 appearances in a season.
Veteran reliever Dan Altavilla agreed to terms with Royals on a minor league deal with a spring invite. He’s coming back from two lost seasons due to injury. Altavilla was up to 98 mph in the Dominican this winter and received a dozen offers. He is a client of The MAS Agency.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2023
Altavilla is a Pennsylvania native who was originally a fifth round pick out of high school by the Mariners. He has a career strikeout rate of 10.0 per-nine-innings, but a high walk rate as well.
He made 41 appearances in 2017 with the Mariners, posting a 4.24 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings, but has not made more than 25 appearances in a big league season since then. He was traded to the Padres in 2020 in a seven-player deal that included Ty France and Austin Nola. Altavilla last pitched in the big leagues in 2021 with the Padres, getting in just two games before requiring Tommy John surgery that year. He returned this season, but pitched in just eight games in the minors for the Red Sox before being released in August.
Altavilla is a fastball/slider pitcher, throwing each about half the time. His slider did generate a 40 percent whiff rate when healthy, and his fastball sat at 96-97, although Heyman reports he is hitting 98 mph now. He will try to compete for a wide open bullpen in Kansas City that is full of unproven arms.