According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, the Twins have offered Tsuyoshi Nishioka a multi-year contract.
One source tells Price that the Twins are trying to sign the switch-hitting infielder to a two or three-year contract worth between $3-4 million per season while another says the team is offering a three-year deal worth $9-10 million in full.
The Twins secured exclusive negotiating rights with Nishioka after submitting a bid of $5 million, so it’s possible that they could secure him for multiple seasons without spending more than $15 million total. The Japanese infielder is a bit of an unknown quantity, but that’s not bad considering the money that is flying around so far this winter. The club has until December 26 to sign him.
Nishioka, 26, has a .293 batting average over parts of eight seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines and led Japan’s Pacific League with a .346 batting average this past season. The club tendered a contract to J.J. Hardy last week, so Nishioka would likely play second base if the two sides come to an agreement.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.