The Twins have secured the negotiating rights for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a major league official said today.
The Twins were the team that submitted the high bid for Nishioka's negotiating rights, and the Chiba Lotte Marines announced Thursday night that they have accepted that bid.
FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is hearing that the winning bid was $5.3 million, but that has not been confirmed. Chiba Lotte has said the bid was for around $5 million.
An announcement is expected later today. The Twins will have 30 days to complete a deal with Nishioka, who batted .346 last year for Chiba Lotte to win the Japanese Pacific League batting title. If no deal is struck, the Twins would reclaim the $5 million posting fee.
Nishioka, 26, is a speedy switch hitter who can play both shortstop and second base.
After Chiba Lotte announced that it had accepted the bid (from an unknown MLB team, at that time) Nishioka was quoted as saying, "I feel honored to be bid by MLB club and am extremely excited. I appreciate that Chiba Lotte gave me this opportunity."
Update: The Twins and Major League Baseball made it official, announcing that the Twins have 30 days to negotiate with Nishioka, who remains under control of Chiba Lotte. In the Twins' press release it says, "Out of respect for the Japanese team and the player, the Twins do not plan any further comment at this time."
Here is some YouTube video of Nishioka at the plate.
Update: In an unrelated move, the Twins passed shortstop prospect Estarlin De Los Santos through waivers, removing him from the 40-man roster and assigned him to Class AAA Rochester. They now have 37 players on their 40-man roster.