La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

It's official: Nishioka agrees to a three-year deal

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 17, 2010 - 5:29 PM

The Twins have agreed to terms with infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka on a three-year contract worth $9 million, plus an option for 2014. Nishioka will be presented at a 4 p.m. press conference on Saturday at Target Field.

The sides had until Dec. 26 to work out a deal after the Twins won the rights to negotiate with him by submitting a winning bid of just over $5 million.

Nishioka arrived at Target Field today as the deal was being finalized. About 15 Japanese media were waiting for him outside the player's entrance.

As of this writing, Twins GM Bill Smith was taking Nishioka back to his hotel.

Check out this Twins video of them trying to figure out bat models and shoe sizes. LOL!

Nishioka will join the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla. for spring training in two months, where the decision will be made to play him at shortstop or second. Many believe he will wind up at second base with Alexi Casilla starting at short,

Can't wait for spring training to begin to see how this works out. There are different opinions about his ability to play well over here. One NL East scout at the winter meetings last week told me Nishioka would struggle defensively and not hit much in the United States. But many people believe he will play well,

Here's a recent article about him on Fangraphs

And Aaron Gleeman dives in with some projections.

Ironically, the player he might replace at second base, Orlando Hudson, agreed to a two-year, $11.5 million deal with San Diego on Friday.

Nishioka is cheaper. And, at age 26,  younger.

Will he be better?

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