Tsuyoshi Nishioka and the Minnesota Twins can start dealing after the team won his rights. After a bidding process, the rights to sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka were won by the Twins, making them the only team that can now negotiate a contract to bring him over to the Major Leagues.
Nishioka could be the next star to come from Japan’s Pacific League over to Major League Baseball, and he had quite a few teams interested in winning those rights. Not every team was as confident as the Twins that he could become a star in the U.S., though.
According to ESPN, it was estimated the Twins won the rights to negotiate with Nishioka with a bid of around $5 million. As with most international players (in baseball), a bidding process takes place between teams that are interested and the team that owns the rights to that player. It meant the Major League teams would be offering bids to Nishioka’s Japanese League team, and the highest bid would then get to start discussions with Nishioka.
It’s an odd way of doing things, but it’s the same way players like Ichiro Suzuki were brought over to the U.S.. Every team has the chance to offer up a bid in the process, and the team doesn’t lose any of that money unless the players signs with them.
So now the Twins have to try to work out a new contract with Nishioka, all in the hopes that he can become the latest international star to come over to America. He has the talent to do that, but there have been some questions about whether his attitude would translate to a Big League clubhouse.
Last season, Nishioka led the Japan Pacific League with a .346 batting average, and became the first player since Ichiro Suzuki to hit more than 200 hits in the season. He then led his team to the Japan Series championship, making him a household name all across Japan.
Now the second baseman is set to try to make it into Major League Baseball, and, at just 26 years old, there is a chance he could make an impact for the Twins right away. Now the hard part begins, though, as the Twins have to convince him to sign on the dotted line. He seems like the perfect lead-off hitter for a Twins lineup that just wants to get people in base in front of Joe Mauer and company. If his talents over in Japan translate well, he could be battling for the American League Rookie of the Year in 2011.