June 29: Hellweg has signed with the Hiroshima Carp, per an announcement from the club (link via the Japan Times). He’ll earn a $300K base salary and can increase that total via incentives.
June 25: The Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate announced on Monday that right-hander Johnny Hellweg has been granted his release in order to pursue an opportunity to play in Japan. Tim Williams of PiratesProspects.com first tweeted the news.
Hellweg, 29, was once considered one of the Angels’ better prospects and was one traded to the Brewers alongside Jean Segura in the 2012 Zack Greinke blockbuster. Hellweg wasn’t able to establish himself with the Brewers, however, totaling just 30 2/3 innings with Milwaukee in 2013. Hellweg sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament in 2014 that limited him to 20 innings that season, and he pitched just 60 2/3 innings in Triple-A in his final season with the Brewers organization in 2015.
Since that time, Hellweg has pitched for the Padres and has had two stints with the New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can-Am Association as well. The 2018 season was his second in the Pirates organization, and he’d been throwing quite well in Triple-A, leading to the interest from overseas. In 27 innings, he’s posted a 1.33 ERA with 8.3 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9 with a superlative 68.1 percent ground-ball rate.