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Added November 26th, 2010 by Chalk
MLB

Twins Win Nishioka Bidding

On Black Friday, the Twins won exclusive negotiating rights to Japan’s Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the first Japanese player since Ichiro Suzuki to have 200 hits in a season. Ichiro went on to have a decent MLB career. Nishioka can play second or shortstop and last season led Japanese baseball in hits (206), average (.346), runs (121), and total bases (287).

The Twins reportedly submitted a winning bid of $5.3 million for a 30-day window to negotiate with Nishioka. If they can’t agree on terms, the Twins don’t have to pay the $5.3 million to Nishioka’s Japanese team, the Chiba Lotte Marines. Nishioka is 26, but has already played eight years in Japan, with a career .293 batting average, as well as .364 on-base percentage and .426 slugging percentage. He was also part of the 2006 Japanese team that won the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

Nishioka also did a Japanese Adidas commercial as part of the “Impossible is Nothing” campaign:

Bobby Valentine, who has previously managed in both MLB and Japan, sees a ton of potential in Nishioka:

I think in the right situation, if he stays healthy, he’ll be a very good player. He would be something there aren’t many of right now and that’s a switch-hitting leadoff hitter. … I saw him the other day, he’s bigger, he’s growing into his body. Instead of just being a skinny young kid he’s becoming a man and he was healthy all last year. …

As far as moving to his left and his right, charging the ball and turning the double play, he can do all those things as well as some of the shortstops in the major leagues. Some of them are obviously more graceful and thinner than he is, but there aren’t 30 of them who are better than him.

 
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