The Royals announced this morning they’ve placed reliever Brooks Kriske on unconditional release waivers. According to Kansas City, he’s pursuing an opportunity with a Japanese club. The move drops the Royals’ 40-man roster count to 39. While the Royals didn’t announce which team Kriske will be joining, a Japanese-language Yahoo! Japan report suggests he has agreed to terms with the Seibu Lions.
Kriske spent the 2022 campaign in Japan. The right-hander first signed with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars. He posted a 2.57 ERA through 21 innings, striking out 29.2% of batters faced. He walked opponents at a lofty 14.6% clip, though, and bounced between NPB and their farm team.
Last winter, the 29-year-old returned to the affiliated ranks on a non-roster pact with K.C. He pitched to a 5.52 ERA across 29 1/3 frames with Triple-A Omaha. The Royals selected his contract in mid-June, plugging him into four games. Over 6 2/3 innings, he allowed three runs with six strikeouts and four walks.
Kriske was optioned back to Omaha two weeks ago. While he remained on the 40-man roster, he presumably received a stronger financial package from the Lions than he’d have made bouncing on and off the K.C. active roster. His hold on a 40-man spot might have been tenuous as a low-leverage reliever, so it’s understandable he’d prefer the guaranteed deal to return to Japan for a second season.