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Same old Tsuyoshi

Aug 7, 2012, 12:07 AM EDT

Tsuyoshi Nishioka Getty Images

Called up from Triple-A Sunday for the first time this year, the Twins’ most expensive middle infielder, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, made his season debut Monday. And the only nice thing that can be said about it is that the Twins beat the Indians 14-3 anyway.

While his teammates were racking up four homers, 14 hits and five walks, Nishioka went 0-for-5 and committed two errors at second base.

Nishioka was hitting just .245/.309/.301 before being summoned from Rochester, so very little is expected at this point. He had one homer in 311 at-bats, and he was caught stealing in six of his 12 attempts.

With the 0-for-5 today, Nishioka is hitting .221/.273/.243 with no homers in 226 at-bats as a major leaguer, with metrics that suggest he might be even worse defensive than offensively. The Twins still owe him another $3.25 million after this season, but it’d be a surprise if he’s still in the organization next spring. A return to Japan might be for the best.

  1. sawxalicious - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    @ Craig, Matthew, Aaron& DJ…
    Please have the guy that does the software for the Sportstalk IPhone app change it so that the individual posts don’t reset every time my phone changes position….I enjoy your guys’ posts, but also enjoy the community’s comments most of all. And when my phone changes position, I have to reload all the comments and start over again. Fellow commenters, please pipe up if you experience the same thing….and I know, it’s a first world problem, but it’s really annoying….

    • gammagammahey - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:38 AM

      Seconded. And I tried submitting a comment through the app itself and it kept failing to send.

      • skeleteeth - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:42 AM

        Having same issue on my Galaxy S3. I can’t even load comments half the time and when they do to not have the same basic site function as when using a computer is silly.

    • spellingcops - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      Amen to that. I’d also like to be able to thumb up/down comments from the app as well.

  2. sawxalicious - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    Oh, and Tsuyoshi is really really bad….

  3. visnovsky - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    He is hitting .016 above the Nishioka Line (OPS of .500). This callup should drop his career OPS back down below it.

  4. b453841l - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    As a Twins fan, I’m so happy the front office was able to spend 9 mil on a guy with pretty much no upside while letting JJ Hardy–the relatively inexpensive quality infielder–go for nothing. Nishioka is a poor Japanese man’s Nick Punto. I wish he would’ve worked out better, but they should have known better than to waste the money they did on him. Honestly, I think someone with a random number generator would be able to get better results than Bill Smith and the 2012 version of Terry Ryan. I award them no points, and may God have mercy on their souls.

    • rooney24 - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:56 AM

      As a Twins fan myself, I find it amazing that everyone forgets that Hardy couldn’t stay healthy as a Twin and did nothing outstanding to earn his money. Yes, he was good the following year with Baltimore, but no one had a crystal ball. Everyone wants to believe they KNEW Hardy was going to bust out the next year. You didn’t.

      Yes, Nishi stinks. But, they have to pay him either way, and are not going anywhere this year. So, why not give him one more chance, until Plouffe gets back? If he doesn’t do anything, you at least tried. While it is a lot of money to me, spending 9 million to try to land a guy that might have helped isn’t that large of a risk at the major league level.

      • randomdigits - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:59 AM

        I can see the logic of giving up on Hardy but all they got in return were two minor league relievers that are already out of the Twins’ organization.

        Hardy should have had more value then that, even with his injury history and the Twins messing up his approach.

      • b453841l - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        All I’m saying is that Hardy has shown he can hit very well at the MLB level while playing better shortstop than anyone else currently on their roster. Injuries are a part of the game, and Hardy’s past shows that he is succeptible to their adverse effects. I understand not wanting to overpay for someone who won’t produce, but letting him go for nothing without even trying to get a return or sign him at a discount because of the injuries, is the kind of mistake they seem to be making all too often in the past couple years. Not to mention the trades for and subsequent resignings/overpays for Capps and Rousch.

        Not overpaying for Kubel and Cuddyer while replacing them with a cheaper and equivalent Willingham was a smart move. Picking up Doumit on the cheap was also good. They dont do everything wrong, but their risk/reward calculators don’t seem to use information that is widely available to draw reasonable conclusions regarding the expected outcomes of their decisions.

      • Bryz - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        That offseason, two shortstops were traded. Hardy went to the Orioles and brought back Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobsen. The other shortstop was Jason Bartlett, and he went from Tampa Bay to San Diego. The return for Bartlett was Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Brandon Gomes, and Cole Figueroa. At the very least, you could say they were equal players, albeit with different skill sets. At most, Hardy was the better shortstop, and he brought back the smaller return.

        Ramos has become a solid reliever, Russell wasn’t good but got lucky with his ERA, Gomes was good last year, bad this year, and Figueroa is a 2B hitting .298/.361/.403 in Triple-A this year.

        Hoey was terrible last year and he’s been terrible in the Blue Jays farm system this year. Jacobsen was terrible last year and was released this year. It was an awful trade by the Twins, and a lot of Twins fans knew that the moment we saw who was coming back to Minnesota.

    • mrstpaul - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      I have to take exception to the comment “Nishioka is a poor Japanese man’s Nick Punto”.

      It’s more accurate to say “Nishioka is a HOMELESS Japanese man’s Nick Punto”.

  5. spudatx - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    The Twins are too cheap to just acknowledge that the Nishioka experiment was a massive failure. They gave up a $5M posting fee, $3M/yr for 3 years and a $250k buyout for what won’t be the fourth. Given the Twins went out and hired Jamey Carroll at $7M for 2 years (assuming they buyout in the third year), Nishioka’s impact was more like $21M over 3 years plus a absolute zero on the roster in 2011.

    Fans joke about Drew Butera’s abysmal OPS out of the catcher role, but at least Butera contributes in the field. Nishioka is a one ring circus.

    • rooney24 - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:00 AM

      Whoa! Check your math, spud. $5M plus $9M plus 250K is 14.25M, not $21M. You can’t add in Carroll’s contract to blame on Nishi. Sure, Nishi stinks. But, as I mentioned above. Give him one more chance until Plouffe is back, and then cut him if it doesn’t work. The money is a sunk cost, you are paying it either way.

      • rooney24 - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:39 PM

        How can you argue math? Math is objective, not subjective. You show your ignorance by thumbing down because I pointed out the math was wrong. But, then again, it is the internet, so what should I expect?

      • rooney24 - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        By the way, Carroll isn’t even playing SS now, so you should add in Dozier’s contract if you really feel you need to add in someone’s contract to see how much we are paying for SS (where Nishioka was originally signed to play).

  6. ndnut - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    I use an iPod Touch with no consistent problems. Once in a while a comment won’t post, but the only complaint I have is no thumbs up/down.

  7. uwsptke - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    This is the contract that scared me a bit when it was revealed that the Brewers won the bidding for Nori Aoki, despite not having any Japanese scouts. Thankfully they learned their lesson from watching what the Twins did and they actually worked Aoki out for a few days before signing him to a contract. If I’m not mistaken, the Twins blindly signed Tsuyoshi. They could have worked him out, discovered he didn’t have MLB skills, and could have gotten the posting fee back from the Japanese club. Aoki is a steal with just a $1 million posting fee, 2yr $2.25 million contract with a team option for a 3rd year. He’s slumping a bit as of late, but he’s still putting up a line of .284/.353/.422.

    • nightman13 - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      By far my favorite Aoki momnet was when he hit the walkoff homer and he AND his translator got the pie face. When they asked him if they do anything like that in Japan he tersely responded, “No we do not.”

  8. kander013 - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Rooney, do you work for the Twins’ front office?

    • rooney24 - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      No, do you?

      I just recall that I was glad they took a chance when acquiring him, as I hoped he just had a bad season in his last year in Milwaukee. But, then he only managed to play 101 games for the Twins, with multiple trips to the DL. He hit .268 with a whopping 6 HRs. He was set to make over $5.8M the next season. It made sense to get rid of a guy that was injured and had not produced in two seasons (.229 with 11 HRs in only 115 games his last year in Milw.) to try to get some bullpen help. Hoey was a hard thrower, which the Twins lacked at the time. It just happened that Hoey ran into injuries and other issues and didn’t work out.

      I just find it laughable that the vast majority of you here (based on the thumbs up and down) totally forget that Hardy didn’t do anything in the last two seasons that the Twins had to base their decision on, was scheduled to make nearly twice as much in a season than what you complain they gave Nishioka, and was only signed for one more season. All you remember is that he broke out and had a career year with 30 HRs the next year. If foresight were as easy as hind sight, anyone could be a GM.

      By the way, he is back to hitting just .227 this year, with a .275 OBP, although with 15 HRs. Are you really saying you wish you were paying him $7M this year and on the hook for another $14M over the next two seasons with those numbers? No thanks.

      • b453841l - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:23 AM

        Hindsight does make it easy to point out mistakes, but there were plenty of people who immediately said it was foolish. Example:check out my boy Gleeman’s take from December 2010 when the trade was fresh. http://aarongleeman.com/2010/12/10/twins-trade-j-j-hardy-to-orioles-for-james-hoey-and-brett-jacobson/ from the comments, the armchair GMs seem divided as to whether Hardy is a bum who needed to go or a great defensive SS with the potential to be a decent hitter. For the past decade, the middle infield of the Twins has been crappy utility guys who can’t hit. The twins could have kept a good shortstop for the year for $5 mil–Nishiokya money–traded him before the deadline and likely gotten more than they got without the extra 90 or so games. They did the same thing with Santana, and that was when they actually would have had a decent team w him in the lineup. As we’ve mentioned, injuries need to be considered, but when you are getting guys without much upside, the conservative move rarely pays off.

  9. realgone2 - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Is he a bigger far east bust than Kenshin Kawakami? My Braves were paying him something like 4 mil to play in AA. Terrible.

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