The Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball signed left-hander Nik Turley to a one-year contract last week, the team announced. Turley will receive 73 million yen plus incentives (roughly $641K) as well as a signing bonus of 11 million yen (a little under $97K).
Turley spent the 2021 season pitching for the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte, posting a 5.02 ERA and 33.1% strikeout rate over 43 relief innings. Turley’s work was hampered by an 11.6% walk rate, though of the 24 earned runs Turley allowed over his 43 appearances, 15 of those runs were surrendered over just four very rough games. The Sox never called Turley up to the majors at any point during the year, and the southpaw elected to become a free agent in October.
The 32-year-old has been pitching long enough that his pro career began in a draft round that no longer exists, as Turley was a 50th-round pick for the Yankees way back in 2008. Turley has tossed 39 1/3 innings (with a career 7.78 ERA) at the Major League level, with 17 2/3 frames for the Twins in 2017 and then 21 2/3 innings for the Pirates in 2020. In between those two seasons, Turley missed time due to an 80-game PED suspension, and then recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Turley’s 12 pro seasons have taken him to six different MLB organizations and a brief stint in indy ball, and he’ll now head to Japan for a new chapter of his career. Despite his lack of big league success, Turley has consistently drawn interest due to his high spin rates on his curveball and four-seamer, and his strikeout rates have increased as he has gradually transitioned from starting pitching to bullpen work. It isn’t out of the question that Turley could see some starting work again with the Carp, depending on how the club intends to use him.