Reading Jesse Lund's well-done interview with Rob Antony, two things stood out regarding Nishi:
1) Antony says the $3M won't play into the decision on whether to keep him on the roster.
2) Everyone on this team seems to cling to his spring training performance last year. They view that as the player they were getting, and the busted leg ruined it. I gotta say, I think this is delusional. I remember he had a decent BA in ST last year, but even the week before he was hurt, he looked totally overmatched out there. It might take a crummy spring training for the organization to come to terms that he needs some minor league time.
Interesting points. But while part of me hopes you are right, two things lead me to cling to my initial position, which is that they try him out again this year:
(1) I expect that he would look pretty good in Spring Training. He's been working down there days before the pitchers and catchers even arrived. And I have to think he looks good fundamentally in practice and beating up on AA-level pitchers in front of 1,000 people. Nishioka's problem, to me, seemed to be that he was just completely overwhelmed by the spectacle of a Major League Baseball game. I think Gardy knew it, I think the fans knew it, and not only is there no way of predicting that happening based on past performance, but I don't know how you fix it.
(2) This team's M.O. is not necessarily to cut and run from mistakes when they swing and miss. They usually stick out a little bit, or compound the error. Gomez got a second year. Delmon got two years before his mirage of a "breakout" year in 2010. And I think Matt Capps is the best example here, because about 90% of the blogging/media community viewed Capps for Ramos as a sunk cost, but rather than dumping him for another compensatory pick and picking a cheaper relief option that would at least be a new face for the fans to hate on, they brought him back.