A Minnesota Twins Press Release today states that Tsuyoshi Nishioka has been given his unconditional release as of today at his request. Nishioka’s release saves the Minnesota Twins $3.25 million in salary and buyout in 2013.
Nishioka who has been in the Twins organization for the last two seasons released the following statement. “I would like to thank the Twins organization for helping me fulfill my dream of playing in Major League Baseball. I take full responsibility for my performance which was below my own expectations. At this time, I have made the decision that it is time to part ways. I have no regrets and know that only through struggle can a person grow stronger. I appreciate all the support the team and the fans in Minnesota and Rochester have shown me. Arigatou gozaimasu.”
Nishioka was not able to achieve the expectations that the Minnesota Twins organization had for him when they purchased and signed him back on December 16, 2010 from the Japanese League Chiba Lotte Marines. Nishioka suffered a broken league on April 7, 2011 while playing second base in a game at Yankee Stadium II in just his sixth big league game. Nishioka played in just 71 games (68 in 2011 and 3 in 2012) for Minnesota and hit .215 in 254 plate appearances while scoring 14 runs, knocking in 20 and stealing 2 bases in 6 attempts. Nishioka spent most of 2012 in AAA Rochester where he hit .258 in 431 plate appearances.
Nishioka had his problems with the stick but he also looked bad in the field playing both 2B and shortstop. In observing Nishioka in spring training in 2011 and 2012 he seemed to spend most of his time working out on his own and did not seem to really take any interest in being a part of the team. The way I see it, the Twins lucked out when Nishioka asked for his release and I’m sure they wasted no time granting his release before Nishioka had time to change his mind. Now the Twins can put that money to a better use and also have a roster spot open for a player that has at least some chance to help the Twins organization down the line. The Tsuyoshi Nishioka signing will go down in Twins lore as one of the worst player decisions that the Twins organization has ever made. Bill Smith who was the GM at the time paid his dues for his part in his fiasco and the scout(s) that recommended this signing should also pay with their jobs. Loyalty is a good thing and people make mistakes but the Twins have gone out of their way to hide the names of the scouts involved in the Nishioka signing and it is about time that those involved take some responsiblity for their actions before the book is closed on this chapter for the final time.