The deal is done! Today (December 17), the Twins signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a three-year deal worth $9 million, with an option for the 2014 season. It took the Twins 21 days to get this deal done. Nishioka was an all-star infielder for Chiba Lotte, a team in Japan. Last year, the 26-year-old switch hitter won the Japanese Pacific League batting title, batting .346. Nishioka can play shortstop or second base. The Twins hope that Nishioka and Alexi Casilla will share the middle infield duties in 2011.
Nishioka arrived in the Twin Cities on December 16 from Japan. Nearly 40 reporters, mostly from Japan, followed him through the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. During his trip to the Twin Cities, Nishioka met Twins personnel and received a physical. Nishioka had mentioned that he would have not come to Minnesota if a deal was not close.
Nishioka is the first-ever Twins player from Japan. Before this signing, only four MLB teams had not had a Japanese player on their team.
The Twins are holding a press conference tomorrow (Sat December 18 at 4pm) to introduce Tsuyoshi Nishioka. You can watch it on foxsportsnorth.com.
Written by: Michael L. Sack