The Twins released infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka last night, two years after signing him from the Nippon Professional Baseball league, after continued lack of production at both the plate in the field. What makes this slightly more interesting than a standard ‘poor performance leads to release’ type story is that Nishioka has waived the $3m salary with a $250,000 buyout his contract called for him to be paid for 2013.
Nishioka’s statement upon his release was as admirable as it was straightforward:
“I take full responsibility for my performance which was below my own expectations. At this time, I have made the decision that it is time to part ways. I have no regrets and know that only through struggle can a person grow stronger.”
Despite two years in MLB where he hit a dreadful .215/.267/.236, Nishioka had every rate to the money due to him in the contract. His decision to allow the Twins to keep what, in baseball terms, is a fairly negligible sum reflects well on Nishioka whose quotes seem to suggest that he was happy just to have had the opportunity to try his hand in MLB. Twins’ GM Terry Ryan could have been slightly less blunt about the situation when he said “it certainly frees up some payroll for us” but ultimately it’s a nice gesture from a player who will be disappointed that a career in the U.S didn’t work out. However, effectively handing back money to a club and owner who scarcely need it will not, I would suggest, be something fans should get used to seeing.