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Does Nishi make this team?

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 05:59 PM

I loved this comment by LaVelle:

4. Tsuyoshi Nishioka. What to do with Nishi? Is he a pinch hitter? No. Is he a late-inning defensive replacement? No. Then how in the heck can he make the team as a utility player?


My thoughts exactly. But the question raised on the last podcast was: then who is the utility infielder? It isn't going to be Dozier; he'll play everyday. Florimon? Do they really have another shortstop on the roster?

#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 07:03 PM

I know Gardy doesn't like to do it, but Casilla could shift over to SS with Hughes or someone going to 2B.

#3 John Bonnes

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 07:23 PM

Or, for that matter, Plouffe could fill in if necessary. So if they wanted to bring north another infielder or outfieldr (or even a bat for the bench), they certainly could do it.

#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 03:13 AM

I would guess that Nishioka makes the roster... but it's the same thing as the Butera situation. You've got guys who can get you through a game at SS (Plouffe, Casilla, etc.) and C (Doumit)... if there was an injury, you could get Dozier or Florimon or Nishioka to the Twins the next day, or you could get Butera or Rivera or Towles the next day. I'd rather fill the bench with someone useful. Maybe a big pinch-hitting option or something (not that they have options... Burroughs? Pearce?)

#5 TwinTalker

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:57 AM

Nishi's signing was a big swing and a miss by the front office. He makes the club -- not because he should but because they are hoping that he does something to help justify their work in the land of the rising sun.

#6 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:01 AM

Unfortunately, I think he does make this team. Not based on merit and athletic ability, but on the fact that I don't think the organization has the guts to send him down to AAA and pay him $3 million to play at Rochester. It would be a full admission of their mistake in signing him, and I just don't see it happening.

#7 twinkiesfan11

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:28 AM

I'm not willing to write Nishioka off entirely yet, he was considered a decent signing at the time and put up some useful enough numbers in spring training last year (small sample I know). I think it's fair to attribute some of the awful play to the culture adjustment, the injury and the god-awful play of the entire team. That being said, I'd prefer to see Nishi start the season in Rochester to get regular playing time. Give him time and reps to improve and the organization an opportunity to prove this signing wasn't a total bust.

#8 StormJH1

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:29 AM

(First post - love the new site and the Gleeman & The Geek Podcast!!!)

Nishioka's going to make the team. The guy was considered an elite defender in Japan. Last year was an unmitigated disaster for him, but it's only Year 2 and they made a pretty substantial investment in him, so maybe if you don't have him in a high pressure starting role right away, we can begin to develop some confidence in him and (more importantly) he'll get some confidence in himself. He can "play" SS and 2B, and with no Tolbert or Punto, we really don't have another guy that does that. No, I don't think you use him as a defensive "replacement" early in the year, but it's not unforeseeable that he could calm down and get to that type of role in the future.

Frankly, if we're in a lot of games where we're even considering putting in a defensive replacement to protect a lead, this is a problem I would be happy to deal with.

#9 John Bonnes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:50 AM

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.

#10 Mr. Ed

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:25 AM

Over 20 million dollars spend on utility infielders with Punto's bad 2 year deal and now the awful Nishioka contract, in recent years. For a team working on a 'budget', bad use of resources.

#11 Mr. Ed

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:27 AM

Lack of organizational depth at the top level is killing the Twins. Every year they're looking for middle infielders. And still can't get the guys to the top level to help. Dozier is the latest candidate,and hopefully he'll get there. Because there is still a large gap to cover with the rest of the SS candidates from AA down.

#12 Mr. Ed

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:30 AM

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.



Totally agree.
Completely overmatched last year, and given his weak approach from the left side, I expect more of the same.

#13 StormJH1

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:47 AM

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.

#14 Nick Nelson

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:05 AM

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.

Indeed. When I was down in Ft. Myers last year, Nishioka was one of the players I was really excited to check out, and I came away thoroughly underwhelmed. I'm not a scout, but it seemed obvious even to me that -- speaking strictly from a skills standpoint -- this guy didn't have what it took to be a major-leaguer. Even in batting practice he barely hit any hard drives. I'd love to see him turn things around this year but I have a hard time seeing it.

#15 Mr. Ed

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:11 AM

Indeed. When I was down in Ft. Myers last year, Nishioka was one of the players I was really excited to check out, and I came away thoroughly underwhelmed. I'm not a scout, but it seemed obvious even to me that -- speaking strictly from a skills standpoint -- this guy didn't have what it took to be a major-leaguer. Even in batting practice he barely hit any hard drives. I'd love to see him turn things around this year but I have a hard time seeing it.


This is why I wonder what the heck the Twins saw in Yoshi when they scouted him in the first place. Did they only watch him on good days batting RH?

#16 Thrylos

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:22 AM

I think that Nishoka will have to prove himself in ST and the Twins need to find a way to help him gain his confidence back. He was terrible last season, but had a brocken leg a week into the season and switched positions. He also had a 9 game hitting streak in early August. It might actually help him to start in Rochester for a month or so and get his act together there... I seriously see him competing for the last bench position with players like Mastroianni (Hughes, Plouffe and a C are locks in my mind)

#17 Mr. Ed

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:29 AM

I think that Nishoka will have to prove himself in ST and the Twins need to find a way to help him gain his confidence back. He was terrible last season, but had a brocken leg a week into the season and switched positions. He also had a 9 game hitting streak in early August. It might actually help him to start in Rochester for a month or so and get his act together there... I seriously see him competing for the last bench position with players like Mastroianni (Hughes, Plouffe and a C are locks in my mind)


I still don't realistically see a need for Matroianni, unless Span is out for concussions.
Another C is also a complete waste of roster space. Doumit cannot be THAT bad.

Unless

Morneau starts on the DL
Mauer has to play first more because of name-your weakness.

#18 Nicholas Mueller

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:30 AM

If he stinks in Spring Training, I wonder if we could trade him to the Boston Red Sox. If I remember correctly Bobby Valentine was in love with him.

#19 Mr. Ed

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:39 AM

If he stinks in Spring Training, I wonder if we could trade him to the Boston Red Sox. If I remember correctly Bobby Valentine was in love with him.



Straight up trade for Punto :cool:

#20 Westgaard66

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

i say trade him regardless...the Twins don't need him.

#21 John Bonnes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:57 AM

Over 20 million dollars spend on utility infielders with Punto's bad 2 year deal and now the awful Nishioka contract, in recent years.

For a team working on a 'budget', bad use of resources.


I'll throw this out, too - they paid a LOT more for Carroll than I thought he would draw as a free agent, especially for a 2-year contract. If that 38-year-old breaks down, or just can't handle things defensively or withstand the everyday grind, it might be that the Punto contract looks like the best of the three contracts.

It is weird - this organization would obviously value an elite shortstop as much or more than most other MLB teams. It seems to be weaved into their DNA. But they have had absolutely no luck (or skill) in getting one that sticks. Bartlett has proved to be no great shakes, but given the replacements, one can argue trading him hurt the team more than trading Garza.

Edited by John Bonnes, 20 February 2012 - 11:59 AM.
included quote to which I was responding


#22 Mr. Ed

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:05 PM

JJ Hardy would have been a good keeper if they'd just left him alone. Also helps his stats for the #s he puts up in Baltimore's hitter-friendly park, but still the offense would be there. Somehow, his footspeed didn't impress some people. Now they get Carroll, who is probably about Hardy's speed or slightly faster. Yay. De Los Santos seems to be a lost cause. Beresford is miles away. Levi M needs to have a big year and move up quickly.

#23 Thrylos

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:24 PM

Another C is also a complete waste of roster space. Doumit cannot be THAT bad.


Completely agree, but Mr Gardenhire does not see it that way.

#24 BeefMaster

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:15 PM

This is why I wonder what the heck the Twins saw in Yoshi when they scouted him in the first place. Did they only watch him on good days batting RH?


I've honestly wondered whether there was any level of pre-signing scouting that went on before the Nishioka signing. It's somewhat defensible for there not to be - the Twins haven't had much of a presence in Japan, and he was a reasonably well-known player coming off a very good year in a competitive league. I'm not sure when he announced that he was coming over, but if it was reasonably late in the NPB season (or after it), it's certainly plausible that they could've said, "Hey, that guy just won their batting title and we need a shortstop - let's see if $3M is enough to get him," without sending someone over there to take a deep look.
"There are only two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

#25 BeefMaster

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:18 PM

i say trade him regardless...the Twins don't need him.


That'd be pretty much impossible at this point without eating his salary - no one's going to take on $6M in salary obligation for a guy who might amount to a AAA utility man. If you're going to pay the guy regardless, there's no downside to giving him another shot, whether in Minneapolis or Rochester.
"There are only two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

#26 StormJH1

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:23 PM

I'll throw this out, too - they paid a LOT more for Carroll than I thought he would draw as a free agent, especially for a 2-year contract. If that 38-year-old breaks down, or just can't handle things defensively or withstand the everyday grind, it might be that the Punto contract looks like the best of the three contracts.

It is weird - this organization would obviously value an elite shortstop as much or more than most other MLB teams. It seems to be weaved into their DNA. But they have had absolutely no luck (or skill) in getting one that sticks. Bartlett has proved to be no great shakes, but given the replacements, one can argue trading him hurt the team more than trading Garza.

I don't understand the Carroll signing at all. I know Aaron Gleeman and a lot of bloggers have been moderately high on it as a short-term fix, but the guy has never been an everyday SS. I understand he didn't even make it to the majors until he was 28, but to ask him to just "discover" the ability to play 120+ games as a shortstop in one year at age 38 seems a little ridiculous.

Also, yeah, it's great that he's a selective hitter and has the potential for a high OBP, blah blah blah. You know when that isn't great? When you have CF, LF, 2B, AND SS all occupied by guys with basically no potential to drive in runs. Yes, you can do the Piranha thing where a bunch of "table-setters" in a row keep singling in runs, but that really is not a reliable method of generating offense. And when you combine the fact that we're not even trying to have a slugger at those 4 positions (and maybe Catcher too, depending on how Mauer rebounds)...uh oh. It would be one thing if we had guaranteed power at 1B and 3B, but there's not sure thing there either. People slam the Willingham signing and he's about the only spot in the lineup I feel somewhat confident in for 2012!

#27 TJ710

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:27 PM

I think they find a way to bring him north. They have a tough time admitting mistakes (scouting wise, free agent spending wise) and usually give guys they spend a decent amount of money on every chance to crash and burn. Not that he hasn't already in most mind, but I just don't think the Twins consider a partial season as enough time.

#28 BeefMaster

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:32 PM

Also, yeah, it's great that he's a selective hitter and has the potential for a high OBP, blah blah blah. You know when that isn't great? When you have CF, LF, 2B, AND SS all occupied by guys with basically no potential to drive in runs. Yes, you can do the Piranha thing where a bunch of "table-setters" in a row keep singling in runs, but that really is not a reliable method of generating offense.


I trust that you have some specific free agent slugging shortstop(s) in mind? If not, I don't see the problem in signing a guy that does something well (getting on base, which also happens to be the most important skill in baseball) rather than waiting for someone who may or may not exist.
"There are only two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

#29 Westgaard66

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:04 PM

I am ok with the carroll signing cause he does get on base, but i really hope one of these young guys in the minors can excel and move up.....It would be nice to know a problematic position could be filled for a while instead of the revolving door it is now.

#30 Axel Kohagen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:17 PM

There's just too much toxicity in regards to Nishioka right now. Even if they did keep him, I can't picture him thriving in an environment where he's so clearly a lame duck player. I don't really have any fancy reasons for feeling this way, but I can't even imagine Nishi on the Target Field bench in 2012.