What you need to know about the newest KC Royals pitcher

The major league free agent market has been dead for over a month thanks to the MLB lockout. Until the lockout ends, however, teams can continue to make minor league signings like the KC Royals just did with Arodys Vizcaíno (Twitter Link).

The Royals announced late this morning that they signed Vizcaíno to a minor league contract. (Kansas City had already made at least one minor league move when they signed ex-Padres infielder Ivan Castillo back in December).

Vizcaíno last spent time in the Mets organization, pitching in relief for their Triple-A affiliate in 2021. He made seven appearances, posting a 2.35 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 7.2 innings. He was released in November.

Vizcaíno was originally signed as an international free agent by the Yankees in 2007. He made his way through the minor league ranks, even becoming New York’s No. 2 prospect according to Baseball Prospectus in 2009 after having a nifty 2.13 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 42.1 innings in short-A ball.

Despite Vizcaíno’s potential, the Yankees traded him (and future Royal Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and cash) to the Braves for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan. The Braves later shipped Vizcaíno to National League rival Chicago.

After spending 2014 with the Cubs, he was traded back to the Braves for second baseman Tommy Le Stella. Vizcaíno was suspended for 80 games in 2015 for PEDs but, after serving the suspension, played in 36 games with the Braves and finished 3-1 with a 1.60 ERA, nine saves and three holds.

What can KC Royals fans expect from the Arodys Vizcaíno minor league deal?

Vizcaíno has been plagued with injuries, including elbow issues, Tommy John Surgery, and shoulder inflammation. And he had right shoulder surgery in 2019, which came after he’d been good for the Braves from 2015-2019, notching a 2.77 ERA, 197 strikeouts in 172 innings, and 50 saves.

Atlanta traded him to Seattle during the 2019 season; he became a free agent after the campaign ended, missed 2020, and then spent a year in the Mets system before they let him go.

Kansas City fans can expect Vizcaíno to be an excellent strikeout pitcher—he has a career 10.10 K/9. He also has 4.17 BB/9 and a great 0.83 HR/9 in seven major league seasons.

According to BaseballSavant, Vizcaíno relies on his sinker and slider with a bit of four-seam fastball mixed in. In 2018, his last full major league season, Vizcaíno’s sinker was hitting 97.6 mph and his slider 85.3 mph. As long as he avoids injuries, that sinker-slider combination could help the Royals’ bullpen in 2022.

The Royals have signed Arodys Vizcaíno to a minor league contract for 2022.