Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Chiba Lotte accepts bid for Nishioka's negotiating rights

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB, Twins offense Updated: November 25, 2010 - 8:26 PM

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED FROM ITS ORIGINAL VERSION.

The Chiba Lotte Marines held a press conference tonight (Friday morning in Japan) to update the posting process for infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

Chiba Lotte announced that it has accepted the high bid from an unknown major league team. A Major League Baseball official told me it will likely announce which team made the winning bid on Friday.

The way the system works, MLB teams file bids to the commissioner's office, which submits the high bid to the Japanese commissioner's office -- without listing the team attached to the bid. I guess this removes any bias. The bid is then presented to the Japanese team, which decides whether to accept or decline, and the major league team with the winning bid is soon notified.

As noted on the NPB Tracker blog, Chiba Lotte is expected to accept the highest bid, no matter how high it is. Japanese reporters tell me that Chiba Lotte wants to encourage Nishioka's dream of playing in the major leagues. I still have not confirmed whether the Twins submitted an official bid for Nishioka's negotiating rights, but I do know they're interested.

More than one Japanese reporter has told me the Twins are viewed as favorites, but as noted on NBCSports.com, other teams are also said to be interested.

If the Twins submitted the winning bid, they would have 30 days to sign Nishioka to a contract. If no deal is struck, the Twins could reclaim their posting fee from Chiba Lotte.

Nishioka, 26, is a speedy switch-hitter who batted .346 last year to win the Japanese Pacific League batting title. He can play both shortstop and second base. There are questions about how his offensive and defensive skills will transfer to the majors, but he is expected to command a deal worth about $15 million over three years.

* Hat tip to Aaron Gleeman, who's busy working on Thanksgiving.

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