The Diamondbacks announced this afternoon that they have sold reliever Kam Mickolio to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan’s Central League.
It was an expected move, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported last week that Mickolio will pitch in Japan next season.
Mickolio was acquired from the Orioles last December along with David Hernandez in the Mark Reynolds deal. The 27-year-old right-hander earned a spot on the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day roster, but ended up making just six appearances in the majors this season, posting a 6.75 ERA and 7/3 K/BB ratio over 6 2/3 innings. He has a 4.83 ERA and 33/17 K/BB ratio over 31 2/3 innings in the majors.
It wasn’t too long ago that Mickolio was considered a promising relief prospect, so with a solid showing in Japan, we may see him again in the big leagues.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.