CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Value Picks: Starting ... (10/02)
<< Previous Column
Transaction Analysis: ... (09/28)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (10/08)
Next Article >>
Baseball ProGUESTus: T... (10/02)

October 2, 2012

Transaction Analysis

Nishioka Unsinks His Cost

by R.J. Anderson

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.

a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.


American League

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Baltimore Orioles
Claimed OF/1B-R Steve Pearce off waivers from the Yankees. [9/29]

On March 27, the Twins released Pearce. He signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees two days later, spending all of April and May toiling in the minors. The Yankees, rather than allow Pearce to use his opt-out clause and leave without compensation, traded him to the Orioles. Baltimore placed him on waivers in late July, and the Astros plucked him. Four weeks later, Houston sent Pearce back to the Yankees. And now another four weeks have passed, and Pearce is back in Baltimore. Expect Pearce to serve as an extra pinch-hitting option for the season’s final days. Oh, and given how the Orioles season has played out, for him to hit the division-clinching home run. 

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Minnesota Twins
Released INF-S Tsuyoshi Nishioka. [10/28]

Whenever a professional athlete walks away from guaranteed money, we gather around to praise the unselfish act. What we miss is that, sometimes, the act of walking away is selfish. Nishioka requested his release, thereby freeing the Twins of the guaranteed $3.25 million remaining on his contract. Bless his kind soul. Except Nishioka spent most of the year in the minors, and subsequently lost his 40-man roster spot. He had to see the writing on the wall, which said, “Your big-league career is over, you’ll spend the 2013 season in the minors,” and, when he got past the creepiness of the oddly specific message, decided he would return to Japan in order to play meaningful ball.

The alternative has Nishioka walking away from the money because of sympathy. The Twins took a chance on him, shelling out more than $11 million to date, and receiving a .215/.267/.236 performance in return. Perhaps Nishioka felt bad enough to do them a professional courtesy. The relief here is that everyone wins. Nishioka, at age 28, has plenty of time to author a second act in Japan; the Twins get some added financial breathing room; and both get to avoid an ugly situation, akin to the ones played out with Kenshin Kawakami and Kei Igawa.

Nishioka’s selflessness through selfishness affords us the opportunity to consider what went wrong. Applauded for his contact skills and defensive range, Nishioka was, along with Alexi Casilla, to form a middle infield reminiscent of the Little Piranhas days. Instead of pestering the rest of the American League, the pair only annoyed the Twins. Say this about Casilla and Nishioka: they never inspired false hope. Both started the 2011 season poorly. Nishioka broke his leg a week into the season, and failed to hit when he returned two months later. He spent all but three games of 2012 in the minors, though did manage to go 0-12 with a walk and a sacrifice fly during his big-league cameo.

But it’s not that Nishioka failed, players fail all the time regardless of the money and time invested in them, what raises eyebrows is the degree of failure. It’s not as though the Twins were the only team interested in Nishioka: the Giants, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Red Sox reportedly placed bids or otherwise looked into him. Say what you will about a few of those teams, but typically, the player has something to him if that many teams are involved. Perhaps Nishioka failed because of the speed of the American game. Pitchers throw harder, surfaces play slower. Add in the culture shock and it’s not hard to pass off as a reasonable, tidy explanation; although who can be certain?

What is certain is this: the Twins will need to fix their infield again. Lately, the Twins have been using Pedro Florimon at shortstop, rotating Jamey Carroll (who, in a sense, is what Nishioka was supposed to become), Casilla, and Eduardo Escobar at second base, and asking Trevor Plouffe to occupy third base. It’s a bad situation. One the Twins will have to sort out this winter. In a roundabout way, maybe Nishioka will help the Twins solidify their middle infield after all.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Steve Pearce,  Tsuyoshi Nishioka

6 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


The signing of Nishioka also freed up J.J.Hardy for the Orioles.

Oct 02, 2012 08:52 AM
rating: 3
Brock Dahlke

Yea, i was just going to say, the team Nishioka helped the most? the Orioles

Oct 02, 2012 14:54 PM
rating: 0

Well Nishioka didn't help the Orioles, the moronic GM of the Twins did.

Oct 02, 2012 15:07 PM
rating: 0

The last time I saw him play he made 2 ridiculous errors and literally quit on the Twins. Gardy pulled him after that. It was remarkably unprofessional and made me think something was very wrong.

Oct 02, 2012 15:10 PM
rating: 0

The one thing I always wondered about Nishioka was whether the broken leg permanently affected him or not. Then again, maybe it's just because I was a frustrated fantasy owner, annoyed that I hadn't lucked into a "rookie" keeper. Did the scouting reports on him change before and after the leg injury? From the interest level shown in him before, it seems like that's the case.

Oct 02, 2012 18:55 PM
rating: 0

Memorable quotes for "Friends" The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS (1998)

Rachel: Maybe Joey's right. Maybe all good deeds are selfish.
Phoebe: I will find a selfless good deed. 'Cause I just gave birth to three children and I will not let them be raised in a world where Joey is right.
Phoebe: [on phone] I have found a selfless good deed. I went to the park and let a bee sting me.
Joey Tribbiani: How is that a selfless good deed?
Phoebe: It makes the bee look tough in front of his bee friends. The bee's happy and I am definitely not.
Joey Tribbiani: Uh, Pheebs, you know the bee probably died after it stung you?
Phoebe: [stares blankly] ...Dammit.
[hangs up]

Oct 03, 2012 09:14 AM
rating: 0
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Value Picks: Starting ... (10/02)
<< Previous Column
Transaction Analysis: ... (09/28)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (10/08)
Next Article >>
Baseball ProGUESTus: T... (10/02)

Fantasy Rounders: The Slump Buster
Premium Article What Scouts Are Saying: July 1, 2015
Premium Article Going Yard: Futures Game: USA Bats
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Tuesday, June ...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 1, 2015
Premium Article Notes from the Field: July 1, 2015
Premium Article The Call-Up: Miguel Sano

Premium Article Bizball: Do the Dodgers Really Have a “Sec...
Premium Article Fall Instructional League Report
Baseball ProGUESTus: The Ever-Changing Mecha...
Fantasy Article Value Picks: Starting Pitching Review
Premium Article Collateral Damage Daily: Tuesday, October 2
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Tuesday, October 2
What You Need to Know: Tuesday, October 2

2012-10-07 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Cardinals-Nationals Divi...
2012-10-06 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL Wild Card Game Recap:...
2012-10-05 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: National League Wild Car...
2012-10-02 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Nishioka Unsinks His C...
2012-09-28 - Transaction Analysis: Astros Try Bo
2012-09-25 - Premium Article Painting the Black: What's Brewing in Milwau...
2012-09-24 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Lewis, Texas Re-Up

2012-10-25 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: One and Done for Ozzie...
2012-10-22 - Transaction Analysis: Offseason in October
2012-10-08 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Managerial Movement
2012-10-02 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Nishioka Unsinks His C...
2012-09-28 - Transaction Analysis: Astros Try Bo
2012-09-24 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Lewis, Texas Re-Up
2012-09-17 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: A Farewell to Old Bull...