Tsuyoshi Nishioka will go down as one of the worst acquisitions in Twins history, but at least the final bill will be a little cheaper than expected.
Nishioka asked the Twins to release him and offered to give back his 2013 salary, so naturally they obliged today and he’s officially a free agent.
He was set to earn another $3.25 million as part of a three-year, $9.25 million contract signed after the Twins paid $5.3 million for Nishioka’s exclusive negotiating rights from Japan. So instead of a $15 million flop he’s now a $12 million flop, and the Twins will have a little more cash to throw around this offseason.
Nishioka ends his Twins career with a .215 batting average and .503 OPS in 71 games–plus some brutally bad defense at shortstop and second base–and spent nearly all of this season at Triple-A. Presumably he’ll head back to Japan, where he hit .346 and won a Glove Glove award in 2010 before signing with the Twins, and at age 28 should be able to recoup that $3.25 million and then some.
The Twins are reportedly interested in signing free agent first baseman Logan Morrison, according to a report from Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The two sides don’t appear to be working toward anything concrete at the moment, but Berardino adds that newly-signed pitcher Jake Odorizzi has been having conversations with the slugger to gauge his interest in a potential deal.
Morrison, 30, enjoyed a tremendous season with the Rays in 2017. He finished his two-year circuit with the team after slashing .246/.353/.516 with a career-best 38 home runs, .363 wOBA and 3.3 fWAR in 601 plate appearances. It was just the second time he’d managed to produce more than 20 home runs in a single season, and he finished the year tied for fifth-most dingers in the AL and eighth-most in the league.
The free agent slugger has been linked to a plethora of interested parties this offseason, including the Red Sox, Royals, Indians, Angels and Mets, but hasn’t drawn any substantial offers in an admittedly slow market. Should he reach an agreement with the Twins, Berardino notes that the club could use him to back up both Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano in a dual first base/DH role.