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Article: Reflecting on the Nishioka Experiment

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:04 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...ioka-Experiment

#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:23 PM

The Twins now have an additional $3m to pursue another middle infielder. A surprising, though certainly welcome, development.

#3 Mr. Ed

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:58 PM

Another MI Brock? Don't ya know, Flori/Pesky Esky and Carroll are LOCKS for 2012 with their ability to pick it. :o

No need for another guy .

#4 dberthia

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 01:31 PM

Wow- after this move I have a lot more respect for Nishi. Too bad Blackburn won't man-up and do the same thing.

#5 Sssuperdave

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 02:06 PM

Wow is all I can say. Very interesting development. Nick mentioned that there aren't many examples of athletes walking away from guaranteed money, and I actually can't think of a single one. Does anyone know of other times athletes have walked away from guaranteed money like this?

#6 Boom Boom

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 02:15 PM

Wow is all I can say. Very interesting development. Nick mentioned that there aren't many examples of athletes walking away from guaranteed money, and I actually can't think of a single one. Does anyone know of other times athletes have walked away from guaranteed money like this?

]

Gil Meche retired with 2 years and almost 24 million left on his contract with the Royals.

Edited by Boom Boom, 28 September 2012 - 02:17 PM.
Bad math!


#7 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 02:25 PM

Yep, Meche is probably the most famous case.

#8 SmokedEyelids

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 02:42 PM

Pretty sure Kenji Johjima also returned to Japan after struggling in the big leagues. Him and Meche were the only people I could think of.

#9 nicksaviking

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 02:46 PM

Didn't Brandon Roy walk away from the Blazers with money left on his deal? It seems to me he did, but the NBA is low on my list of favorite leagues.

#10 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 02:53 PM

Wow is all I can say. Very interesting development. Nick mentioned that there aren't many examples of athletes walking away from guaranteed money, and I actually can't think of a single one. Does anyone know of other times athletes have walked away from guaranteed money like this?

]

Gil Meche retired with 2 years and almost 24 million left on his contract with the Royals.


Wasn't Meche's arm all but completely shot at that point? IIRC there was a very low chance he would ever be able to pitch again, sounds like he was just tired of trying to rehab with real shot at ever getting back.

#11 roger

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 03:40 PM

There were several times during that book when I was having problems continuing to read. He really had to be one of the very special people this nation has ever known.

I wonder if Nishioka's personal life also was part of this decision. I know it was announced that he was getting divorced. I wonder if that isn't final if going home may give him a chance to get his family back together.

#12 Sssuperdave

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 03:45 PM

I just found this interesting article from 2011 on Meche's retirement. It also mentions Ryne Sandberg and Mark McGuire as guys that walked away from big guaranteed paychecks to retire. Of course, all those situations are completely different than Nishi's.

http://www.nytimes.c...meche.html?_r=0

#13 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:59 PM

Good take, Nick. Here's my parting thoughts on Nishi.

1. As bad as he was, and he was really, really bad, he was not the only or even one of the biggest problems with this team the last 2 years. As I posted in the other thread, The Twins have played 318 games in 2011 and 2012. Nishioka appeared in only 71 of those games. The Twins record on those games? 31-40. Record with no Nishi? 97-150. Though he became everyone's favorite whipping boy, much of the ripping on Nishi ended up being a distraction for more serious problems. It was like going on about an ugly facial scar while ignoring the fact that a deadly disease was spreading through the internal organs.

2. I was actually fine with the gamble. After a decade of Tony Batistas, Mike Lambs and other low-cost, low-risk, low-ceiling free agents, the Twins finally decided to go for it. They swung for the fences, and they missed. My concern is that they'll be gun shy about doing it again and go back to hunting through the bargain bin. But I hope I'm wrong. Don't stop trying to hit it out of the park, just be smarter about it and do it better next time.

3. I'm also a bit concerned about the team turning its back entirely on Asia. I've seen all sorts of "well, that's why you don't sign Japanese players" comments. But it's neither fair nor rational to judge an entire region by a single player. Keep looking in Japan. Not every guy will turn out to be another Nishi. Maybe next time we'll get a Tad Iguchi.

4. The Nishi thing is over, so hopefully the incessant whining about him will stop. There's nothing to be gained by peeing on the grave of his now dead MLB career.

#14 Montecore

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 09:17 PM

Unfortunately for the Twins - Nishi's personal integrity does not obviate the black stain his signing indicated about the organization. Whoever had the most authority in heralding him as a speedster/defensive Phenom/ terrific hitter is still running the team in one way or another and whether it was Ryan, or Gardenhire, or one of the Pohlads, it doesn't augur well for the future. If they can turn the team into a laughingstocks once they can do it again and again. If it was one of the Pohlads who the prime mover of the Nishi signing, then the problem will nearly be impossible to fix. But, we know it was Gardenhire who got rid of J.J.Hardy in no small measure I'm sure because J.J. didn't kiss his ass enough, so it's a logical speculation that Hardy liked the idea of having a deferential, monumentally grateful non-modern ballplayers be his shortstop. Every day he's on the job, the organization has the stench of failure.

#15 mikeee

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 09:23 PM

Guess you have to respect those cultural differences.. That was very honorable of Nishi.

#16 Shane Wahl

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 12:02 AM

Great article.

Brock, instead of another MI, maybe that extra 3 million moves the team away from Jeremy Guthrie and towards Ervin Santana?

#17 Jack Torse

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 07:31 AM

Im sure Tnish just became the Pohlads all time favorite Twin.

#18 mlhouse

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 04:27 PM

Good take, Nick. Here's my parting thoughts on Nishi.

1. As bad as he was, and he was really, really bad, he was not the only or even one of the biggest problems with this team the last 2 years. As I posted in the other thread, The Twins have played 318 games in 2011 and 2012. Nishioka appeared in only 71 of those games. The Twins record on those games? 31-40. Record with no Nishi? 97-150. Though he became everyone's favorite whipping boy, much of the ripping on Nishi ended up being a distraction for more serious problems. It was like going on about an ugly facial scar while ignoring the fact that a deadly disease was spreading through the internal organs.

2. I was actually fine with the gamble. After a decade of Tony Batistas, Mike Lambs and other low-cost, low-risk, low-ceiling free agents, the Twins finally decided to go for it. They swung for the fences, and they missed. My concern is that they'll be gun shy about doing it again and go back to hunting through the bargain bin. But I hope I'm wrong. Don't stop trying to hit it out of the park, just be smarter about it and do it better next time.

3. I'm also a bit concerned about the team turning its back entirely on Asia. I've seen all sorts of "well, that's why you don't sign Japanese players" comments. But it's neither fair nor rational to judge an entire region by a single player. Keep looking in Japan. Not every guy will turn out to be another Nishi. Maybe next time we'll get a Tad Iguchi.

4. The Nishi thing is over, so hopefully the incessant whining about him will stop. There's nothing to be gained by peeing on the grave of his now dead MLB career.



The question I have always had about the Twins decision to sign Nishioka is this: is that the way he looked in Japan? With the Twins, he had the worse looking swing I have ever seen. His swing was completely futile with terrible mechanics, particularly from the left side of the plate were it looked like he simple waved the bat in a hopeless attempt to make contact.

Or did his swing and mechanics completely change when he reached the United States?

#19 Teflon

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 04:59 PM

Credit Tsuyoshi Nishioka for making Delmon Young's Twins' tenure look better in retrospect.

If only Nick Blackburn had some Japanese sense of honor, too.

#20 ashburyjohn

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 07:14 PM

I respect Nishi's walking away from guaranteed money. I wonder though if the Players' Union put any pressure on him to stick to the contract, or will put up a fuss now. In fairness to the players, it should be noted that both sides sign the contract, and precedents like this one can put pressure on some future player to give back something due to nagging injuries or whatnot. I have mixed feelings on the issue, but just wonder about it.

#21 kab21

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:38 AM

I remember watching the Nishi video before he came over and not being very impressed with his lefty swing but I still thought he could have hit .285 with a .330-.350 OBP and solid defense. I thought his lefty swing could still make contact but it was going to produce a lot of grounders and singles. it's disappointing that he wasn't even close to that player.

Let's not forget that this isn't that bad of a situation for Nishi. he'll return to Japan professionally and hopefully rebound to get a multi year deal there. He loses some money but I have to imagine that he's miserable playing awful in foreign country with very few friends. I'm surprised that he wasn't able to get a little money from the Twins to leave though.

#22 wagwan

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:13 AM

Why should Blackburn walk away from the money? He earned it based on past performances. Nishi wants to play in Japan. Now he can. He is not retiring like Meche and the others mentioned. He is going to see if he can make more money somewhere else. To imply Blackburn is without honor seems to be pretty silly and completely unwarranted.

#23 kab21

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:49 AM

I'm not sure if this was posted in the other Nishi thread but fangraphs has an awesome look back at nishi's career. His best game was 8/2/11 against the Indians. He had 2 RBI singles and committed 4 errors in the 6th inning (GIFs posted at fangraphs). http://www.fangraphs...hiokas-big-day/

#24 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:44 AM

Nishi wasn't too concerned with the Player's Union on this subject. He will never be back to play in the Majors.

Everybody is talking about how this is the honorable thing for Nishi to do, but what if honor had nothing to do with it? Staying here he would be paid, but he would still be in the minors, being in a country and cities that I am sure he doesn't want to be in, away from his family and friends, and ruining his professional baseball career. By walking away and going back to Japan, he can fix all of these things. Plus, I am sure he will make a comparable salary in Japan this year.

It may be an "honorable" move. But considering (as usual) we the people don't have all the reasons, I am not quite ready to anoint him the Patron Saint of Bad Contracts.

#25 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:04 AM

I'm surprised that he wasn't able to get a little money from the Twins to leave though.


---I've wondered about that. But did he even try? Everything I've read said he asked for a release. I haven't seen any references to a buyout. I would think he could have gotten a few hundred grand out of the Twins had he asked for it.

I think the honor thing has been overstated, but if it's true he asked for nothing, I'll give him a few honor points there.

It's one thing to walk away from the promise of money when you have to spend a year of misery earning it. But turning down easy money is a different deal.

#26 Riverbrian

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 09:24 AM

Good take, Nick. Here's my parting thoughts on Nishi.

1. As bad as he was, and he was really, really bad, he was not the only or even one of the biggest problems with this team the last 2 years. As I posted in the other thread, The Twins have played 318 games in 2011 and 2012. Nishioka appeared in only 71 of those games. The Twins record on those games? 31-40. Record with no Nishi? 97-150. Though he became everyone's favorite whipping boy, much of the ripping on Nishi ended up being a distraction for more serious problems. It was like going on about an ugly facial scar while ignoring the fact that a deadly disease was spreading through the internal organs.

2. I was actually fine with the gamble. After a decade of Tony Batistas, Mike Lambs and other low-cost, low-risk, low-ceiling free agents, the Twins finally decided to go for it. They swung for the fences, and they missed. My concern is that they'll be gun shy about doing it again and go back to hunting through the bargain bin. But I hope I'm wrong. Don't stop trying to hit it out of the park, just be smarter about it and do it better next time.

3. I'm also a bit concerned about the team turning its back entirely on Asia. I've seen all sorts of "well, that's why you don't sign Japanese players" comments. But it's neither fair nor rational to judge an entire region by a single player. Keep looking in Japan. Not every guy will turn out to be another Nishi. Maybe next time we'll get a Tad Iguchi.

4. The Nishi thing is over, so hopefully the incessant whining about him will stop. There's nothing to be gained by peeing on the grave of his now dead MLB career.


Well Posted!!!

Nishi will end up being a big swing and miss. There are more at bats to come.

#27 strumdatjag

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 05:59 PM

In the pantheon of worst Twins (includes expectations and hype vs. results, disappointment and embarassing intangibles) - Nishi has securted the shortstop position:
1b: Scott Stahoviak
2b: Tommy Herr
SS Nishi
3b: Danny Valencia
c: Dave Engel
OF: Rick Sofield, Dan Ford (all on those intangibles), Willie Norwood
Four man Pitching Rotation: Terry Felton, Willie Banks, Steve Carlton, Nick Blackburn (someone from this year's staff has to make it!!! And Blackie was given big bucks and then proceeded to stink it up)
Closer: Ron Davis

#28 Nick Nelson

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:41 PM

I've gotta think Valencia ranks squarely behind Tony Batista (and probably several others) at 3B.

#29 savvyspy

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:06 AM

I always laugh at the zeal Twins bloggers and fan rip Nishioka. Honestly his numbers in Rochester were probably better than most of the middle infielders in this organization. I just dont get how Alexi Casilla can get a free pass for what?? 5 seasons?? of complete and total ineptitude but the 3 games Nishioka played this year are supposed to be what I'm supposed to be so upset about.

Whether its Butera being the worst hitter in the majors the last 2 years or Nick Blackburn this organization has way more issues than Nishioka who basically was like every other middle infielder (save JJ Hardy) this team has run out there in the last 4-5 seasons.

Any honest assessment of this team would lead you to believe Nishioka had nothing to do with how horrible this team has been the last 2 years.

I guess people are going to need a new scapegoat when they lose 90 games again next year.

#30 Nick Nelson

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:26 AM

I always laugh at the zeal Twins bloggers and fan rip Nishioka. Honestly his numbers in Rochester were probably better than most of the middle infielders in this organization. I just dont get how Alexi Casilla can get a free pass for what?? 5 seasons?? of complete and total ineptitude but the 3 games Nishioka played this year are supposed to be what I'm supposed to be so upset about.

Whether its Butera being the worst hitter in the majors the last 2 years or Nick Blackburn this organization has way more issues than Nishioka who basically was like every other middle infielder (save JJ Hardy) this team has run out there in the last 4-5 seasons.

Any honest assessment of this team would lead you to believe Nishioka had nothing to do with how horrible this team has been the last 2 years.

I guess people are going to need a new scapegoat when they lose 90 games again next year.

Casilla has been a substantially better player than Nishioka, which is really saying something about Nishi. I think you're underestimating how horrible Nishioka was as major leaguer. Also, of 62 qualifying hitters in the International League, he ranked 56th this year in OPS.

Was he the primary reason the team has been terrible over the past two seasons? Of course not. But he stands out as one of this organization's most monumental failures in recent history and his case is symbolic of the team's staggering inability to evaluate middle infield talent.