Section 219: Cutting ties with Nishioka
- Blog Post by: Howard Sinker
- August 31, 2011 - 9:51 AM
I'm a day late with this but the moment that pretty much captured the Twins season happened late in Monday's loss in Chicago.
Catcher Rene Rivera made a perfect throw to second base -- absolutely perfect and on target -- to Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
The ball arrived well before runner Dayan Viciedo.
But Nishioka brought his glove up before the runner reached the base -- and Viciedo was safe when he slid under the non-tag.
Absolutely, totally no excuse.
If that was an isolated event, you would chide Nishioka and get on with things.
But the lack of offense, defense and fundamentals that Nishioka has brought to the Twins makes me cringe whenever anyone talks about him being "in the mix" for 2012.
If he's "in the mix," anywhere but Rochester or back in Japan, then Minnesota, we have a problem.
The Twins made a mistake with Nishioka, and with all of their middle-infield judgments this season. Between the posting fee paid for the negotiating rights and the three-year deal, Nishioka is costing the Twins about $14 million.
Sometimes, you have to swallow pride and cut losses.
I can live with Trevor Plouffe's mistakes right now because the Twins are trying to find a position for him and get a better handle on what he can do on offense. Ben Revere's arm is a liability about which you can debate whether he has other assets that overcome it. Luke Hughes is going a good job of making himself an extra infielder candidate for 2012.
Nishioka offers little to the Twins but heartache. It's a sad, sad story because he arrived with high expectations and an interesting background. The broken leg suffered during the first week of the season didn't help, but the inconvenient truth is that it probably just kept us from watching more misplays.
Incremental improvement won't be enough to make things right.
The best thing for all parties right now is to find a way to end the relationship and for the Twins to work on the wide range of other problems facing them.
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