KC Royals announce set of minor league deals following Winter Meetings

More work needs to be done on the 40-man roster, but it never hurts to add MLB veterans in the minor-league system.

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The KC Royals left Nashville and got back to work, adding four experienced MLB players on minor-league deals. The team announced they signed pitchers Dan Altavilla, Sam Long, and Tyler Duffey, along with infielder Mike Brosseau via X on Thursday.

The KC Royals added four players to the system, but what do they bring to the roster?

Those four players do not offer immediate improvements to the major-league product, but they add some depth at least. Duffey is the most experienced player out of the group, having appeared in 296 MLB games across nine seasons. He played for the Chicago Cubs in 2023, only appearing in one game. He spent his first eight seasons with the Minnesota Twins, where he was dominant at times. He transitioned to the bullpen in 2017, posting a 4.00 ERA and 1.192 WHIP in 260 relief appearances.

NY Post columnist Jon Heyman reported the Altavilla signing on Wednesday, but the team confirmed it on Thursday. Altavilla is a wild card heading into 2024, as he has not played since 2021. Heyman reported that Altavilla is hitting 98 MPH with his fastball this winter, which would be better than his career norm. Altavilla has played in 119 games from 2016 through 2021, posting a 4.03 ERA and 1.319 WHIP.

Long is the youngest out of the group and will be 28 come Opening Day. He only has three seasons under his belt, pitching 80 games for the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics. He is coming off a down year for Oakland, where he had a 5.60 ERA and 1.556 WHIP. He does offer a plus-curveball, a common trait of Royals pitching acquisitions this offseason. Fans should not expect immediate results from Long, but he could provide situational value if called upon.

Lastly, Brosseau is the only position player added in this crop. He is a versatile infielder, playing all positions except shortstop in his five-year career. He broke into the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays and was stellar in 2019 and 2020. He has fallen off since then, most recently playing for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2023. Milwaukee designated him for assignment after he only played in 29 games. He should not be pushing for a 40-man spot, but Kansas City may hope he can reclaim his previous form.

Overall, Royals fans should not be jumping for joy at these additions. It is hard to fault Kansas City for taking some fliers on experienced pitching and a utilityman on the cheap, but this fanbase needs more right now. Garrett Hampson has been the biggest free agent addition so far and that hardly moved the needle. After the horrendous draft lottery results, look for the Royals to get active in the free-agency market before Christmas.

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