Tsuyoshi Nishioka was owed $3.25 million by the Minnesota Twins but the former Japanese All-Star said no thanks, and instead asked for his release, which the Twins granted.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Nishioka won a batting title and the equivalent of two Gold Gloves in Japan in 2010, and was signed by Minnesota in 2011 to a three year deal worth more than $9 million. That money came on top of the $5.32 million the Twins paid Chiba Lotte of the Nippon Professional League for negotiating rights. After all that, Nishioka stayed just over the Mendoza line, batting .215. He was also a defense liability.
Big League Stew notes that Nishioka played just three games at the Major League Level, after being a five-time All-Star in Japan.
Nishioka’s release gets him out of the prospect of facing another year wallowing in Triple A ball, and it saves the Twins a nice chunk of payroll.
“I would like to thank the Twins organization for helping me fulfill my dream of playing in Major League Baseball,” Nishioka said in a statement. “I take full responsibility for my performance, which was below my own expectations. At this time, I have made the decision that it is time to part ways. I have no regrets and know that only through struggle can a person grow stronger. I appreciate all the support the team and the fans in Minnesota and Rochester have shown me. Arigatou gozaimasu (Thank you very much).”
The Twins certainly weren’t upset to grant the release.
“He didn’t want to be in Rochester, and not because it’s not a nice affiliate; he didn’t have that in mind from the get-go, and neither did we,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. ” I’m sure he’ll do well in Japan, and it certainly frees up some payroll for us.”
Nishioka will likely head back to Japan, though his release means he is eligible to sign with any team.