UPDATE: The Twins have a deal with Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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UPDATE: Heyman says the deal is done: three years, plus an option for “about $10 mil.”  He adds that Nishioka could play second base or shortstop.  Guess it depends on whether the Twins would rather play Alexi Casilla at second or short.

9:30 AM: Heyman says the deal is a three-year deal plus an option year, with the guaranteed money being around $10 million.  That would put it at the low-end of the expected range compared to the posting fee, but maybe that option is favorable for Nishioka.

9:15 AMKen Rosenthal reports that NPB star Tsuyoshi Nishioka is in Minnesota and is “very close” to signing a deal with the Twins. He’s set for a physical today. Given that the Twins bid $5 million for Nishioka’s bidding rights — and given that Japanese players who previously joined MLB teams through the posting process typically got contracts that were close to the posting fee — Nishioka  is expected to receive a multi-year contract worth between $3-5 million per season.

As Aaron has previously observed, it’s not clear what the Twins are getting in Nishioka. Yes,  he won the batting title this year by hitting .346, but that may have been a fluke. Before 2010 he was a career .280 hitter. He batted just .260 in 2009 and he doesn’t have much in the way of power. He’s fast, however, and he’s supposed to have a pretty nifty glove.  Given how thin the shortstop position is in the American League, he could be a nice pickup.

Or he could be Kaz Matsui.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.