Sad Nick Blackburn is sad.
The Twins have outrighted Nick Blackburn to Triple-A Rochester, and outrighted Tsuyoshi Nishioka off the 40-man roster (though he will remain at Rochester). The move represents the final chapter to two of former GM Bill Smith's biggest blunders - Blackburn's four-year, $14 million contract that began in 2010, and Nishioka's three-year, $9 million deal that began last season.
In order to be dropped from the 40-man roster, both players had to clear waivers, which - not surprisingly, given their performance and their contracts - they both did. The move also makes it much less likely that either one will be a September callup, as they would have to be moved back to the 40-man roster (and pass through waivers again) for that to happen.
Blackburn was 4-9 with a 7.39 ERA this season, and had already made one trip to the minor leagues. Since his new contract began in 2010, Blackburn had compiled a 21-31 record and a 5.56 ERA, ugly numbers. He is guaranteed $5.5 million for 2013.
Nishioka was 0-12 in his brief major-league stint this year. Presuming his Twins career is over, he will end with a .215 / .267 / .236 batting line. Given that he also played defense that was so bad that it verged on a circus exhibit, and was paid $3 million per year to do it, he has to be a prime candidate for the title of "Worst Twin Ever."
Blackburn was scheduled to start Wednesday; no word on who'll be taking that spot, though the obvious candidates at Triple-A would be Liam Hendriks (9-3, 2.20 ERA at Rochester this year - though 0-5 / 7.04 in the majors) and Esmerling Vasquez (8-5, 2.85 ERA.)