Twins still negotiating contract details with Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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When the Twins traded starting shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Orioles last week it signaled that they were extremely confident about being able to sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka before the December 26 deadline.

No deal is in place yet, but LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the two sides are close enough to an agreement that Nishioka will soon travel to Minnesota for a pre-signing physical exam.

Some of the details still be worked out include “who interprets for Nishioka and how many round-trip tickets between the United States and Japan the club will be on the hook for.” As for money, he’s expected to receive about $10 million over three seasons after the Twins bid $5 million to secure his negotiating rights.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.