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Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:58 AM
Most bloggers here believe that OBP and K/BB rate are huge indicators for future success.  The question becomes when do we step away...
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Article: Lottery Numbers: Projecting The 2016 Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:57 AM
While they differ in methodology, the major projection systems -- Marcel, OLIVER, PECOTA, Steamer, ZiPS et al. -- all abide by one centra...
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2015-2016 Offseason Thread

Other Baseball Today, 09:56 AM
I sadly have to post this with my favorite player leaving my favorite team.   The Braves traded Andrelton Simmons and Jose Briceno t...
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Article: Out Of Options But Not Out Of The Plans

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:58 AM
Heading into the offseason, the Minnesota Twins had six players who would be out of options heading into the 2016 season. Two were traded...
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Article: Position Battle: Center Field

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:49 AM
From Denard Span to Aaron Hicks to Jordan Schafer, the Opening Day center field assignment has been a bit of a revolving door for the Twi...
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From MinnCentric



Nishioka Gets Another Shot

Attached Image: nishioka.jpg Sending Tsuyoshi Nishioka to the minors at the outset of this season was a fairly obvious decision, given his immense struggles as a rookie last year. Leaving him there for the majority of the summer has also been an easy choice, as his play in Triple-A has offered no indication that he belongs in the big leagues.

That remains true now, after a "hot" month of July in which Nishioka batted .298 but posted a meager .702 OPS, but nevertheless the Twins elected to bring him back to the majors when Sunday's Danny Valencia trade opened up a roster spot.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
And you know what? I believe the club made the right choice in recalling the embattled infielder, and I'll take it a step further: I think Nishioka should be starting regularly for Minnesota from here on out.

Why? For the same reason that Nick Blackburn should keep taking the hill every fifth day, regardless of his performance. Right now, the Twins need to be completely focused on 2013 and beyond, and like it or not, the organization will be paying those two players – who happen to slot in at positions of great need – many millions of dollars next season.

There's an inclination to label both Nishioka and Blackburn sunk costs, and ultimately that's what they may amount to next year: $8 million in wasted payroll with virtually no return. But that's an ugly scenario and the Twins have plenty of incentive to avoid it. In a late-season situation such as this, where wins and losses don't matter, there's an opportunity to take a long look at both players and try figuring out a way to get some value from them going forward.

Believe me, I have close to zero faith in that happening, especially in the case of Nishioka. He just doesn't seem to have the tools to succeed as a major-league player. But a lengthy audition in a low-pressure environment with daily access to Joe Vavra and other coaches strikes me as a worthwhile last-ditch effort. Presuming Brian Dozier continues to start on the other side, Nishi won't be stealing playing time from anyone of import.

When a 28-year-old hits .298/.336/.365 over a month in Triple-A, it's generally not something worth getting excited about. In the case of Nishioka, it is sadly the most positive thing he's done since coming over from Japan. That's the splinter of hope Twins fans must cling to with the failed import, so it's not hard to see why most have summarily dismissed the idea of his playing any role in the club's future, despite his contract.

How nice it would be if he showed us something over the next two months to make us believe otherwise.


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