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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.