Twins finalize three-year deal with Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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The Twins just officially announced that they have come to terms with Tsuyoshi Nishioka on a three-year, $9 million contract with a club option for 2014. According to LaVelle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the team will hold an introductory press conference tomorrow.

The Twins secured exclusive negotiating rights for Nishioka by submitting a winning bid of $5 million, so it will cost them a total of $14 million to get him in the fold. The 26-year-old infielder is largely an unknown quantity, despite leading the Pacific League with a .346 batting average this past season, but considering that Orlando Hudson just got $11.5 million over two years, this shouldn’t hurt the Twins too badly, even if he becomes the next Kaz Matsui.

While Nishioka was primarily a shortstop during his time in Japan, the common assumption is that he will play second base and that Alexi Casilla will replace J.J. Hardy as the team’s starting shortstop.

Report: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez

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Update (5:16 PM ET): ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting that the deal is final.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.