• Twins Must Erase Memories of Nishioka

    Tsuyoshi Nishioka bobbles a throw in a Minnesota Twins game.Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who was optioned to the minors today to make room for Trevor Plouffe, has probably played his last game in a Twins uniform. His memory will endure, however probably for longer than the team would like.

    In a sense, you can't help but feel bad for the guy. He worked hard and tried his best, but in the end he couldn't cut it, and his demotion in the wake of an audition so horrendous it needed to be cut short after three games serves as a reminder of the most misguided decision in a blunder-filled Bill Smith era.

    The signing of Nishioka and the corresponding roster maneuvering namely, trading J.J. Hardy for what amounted to nothing were puzzling at the time and far worse in hindsight.

    It's not that the moves themselves have set the organization back irreversibly, as Nishioka's $3 million salary is hardly a massive burden and Hardy has come hurdling back to earth in year one of his new contract (though I'd argue he's still a decent value at $7 million). It's more that the thought process behind the decisions the misplaced priorities, the awful player evaluation, the lack of long-term foresight represented everything wrong with the front office under Smith. These weaknesses were also on display in moves like the Nick Blackburn extension, the Carl Pavano re-signing and the Matt Capps trade.

    Mixed in with a good hint of bad luck, this shaky leadership sent a thriving and annually competitive franchise to the very bottom. The Twins lost 99 games last year and they're on pace to lose 92 this year. If it pans out that way, it will be the worst two-year stretch for the club since the early '80s.

    The middle infield positions, which have been constant problem spots over the past decade, continue to be filled by stopgaps and marginal big-leaguers. And as long as that continues to be the case, people will remember Nishioka.

    Terry Ryan's job is to make them forget.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Must Erase Memories of Nishioka started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      I'm not offended, I just disagree.
    1. SeanS7921's Avatar
      SeanS7921 -
      They had to sign Nishoka to a multi year deal or else they wouldn't have got him. Obviously that would be ideal now but at the time Nishioka was considered a lot better prospect then he turned out to be. At the very least his defense was thought to be better. If they are going to pay 5 million for the chance to sign him they weren't giving him a one year deal. He could have easily said no and walked back to Japan again if they were prepared to pay 5 million they were going to give him multi-year deal.
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      I think Nishi is horrible but his twins experience didn't hurt the franchise that much. If Hardy was our SS this year or last would we have made the playoffs anyway? No. Too many injuries last year and just horrific pitching this year. If anything.. to put a positive spin on it.. maybe the few million a year we saved now goes to a guy like Doumit who we have for a couple more years.
      Instead the guy we really need to erase the memory of is Nick Blackburn. He literally costs the team several wins a year for the last few years.. yet he's still starting every 5th day. He is the worst starter in the major leagues. He has an average fastball and below average secondary pitches yet Gardy has already stated that "he's one of our guys.. He'll be one of our starters next year". I just don't get it.. Hopefully the organization comes to their senses before opening day next year. Eat the 5.5 million and call it a day.. or better yet eat 4.5 of it and see if a national league team hopes he can be the second coming of Jason Marquis in a trade for a cardboard box
    1. SeanS7921's Avatar
      SeanS7921 -
      J J Hardy WAR was 4.8 including outstanding defense in 2011. To say he would have been better as a Twin is highly doubtfull based on him saying he got his swing fixed by the Twins. I doubt Hardy would have hit 30+ Home Runs in 2011 at Target Field considering his pull power didn't get it done there in 2010. As for Nishioka he HARDLY played in 2011 for the Twins so he didn't have real impact on the team. That's the whole point! He hasn't cost the Twins anything on the field and you can only make the assumption that Hardy was traded due to Nishioka. The guys who replaced Hardy and played most of the time for Nishioka were only below Hardy's performance. The Twins still would have had the worst record in the AL with Hardy. Alexi Casilla before his injury was played slightly below average at short and slightly above average at 2B with an overal WAR of 1.4. Trevor Plouffe also filled in and was below average all of the field but did hit for some power. (1.1 offensive WAR). NOW Hardy got a 3 year deal through 2014 for 7 million a year as much as Josh Willinham. His WAR 1.1 is worse than Jamey Carroll 1.8 and has two more years to go. If the Twins had signed Hardy to the three year deal we would get the post - Twins must erase memory of JJ Hardy Deal. The Twins problem in 2011 was no Joe Mauer, Injuries and no Starting Pitching. The Twins problem in 2012 is No Starting Pitching. On a side note Jamey Carroll gets no love as he can't hit a home run (OPS BS again) but he should actually win the gold glove at 3B, 2B and SS. His fielding has been oustanding with a large amount of innings at each position.
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