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The End of the Twins Tsuyoshi Nishioka Era—With An Interesting Twist

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, touted as an elite hitter and golden glove recipient in Japan, did not exactly do as well here in America. But he did do one thing that far exceeded most expectations.

Jeff Gross - Getty Images

By now, I assume all the fans who care have heard that the failed shortstop experiment from Japan—Tsuyoshi Nishioka—voluntarily asked for a release from his three-year contract with the Twins. Effectively, Nishi returned $3.25 million to the Twins to release himself from playing for the team next year.

That is an extremely noble thing to do, which very few players in our day have ever done. Several media members continued to take shots at Nishi's performance even after this act, which I think was uncalled for. He left in great honor, you should show it in return.

Anyway, Nishi wrote on his blog about the decision to be released from the Twins. It was all in Japanese though, and I don't speak Japanese, so I had to rely on my rusty (but trusty!(?)) Japanese Google Translate skills to read it.

I wanted to share with you my VERY rough interpretation:

Now I am to leave baseball team Minnesota Twins season thing. So I thought and I share feelings blog.

I began to chase baseball dream become a professional baseball player from a young age. That dream came true. Then I hit a big wall in 2009, thought that wall is very high for me at that time. I remained as a baseball player going to 2010 season and was afraid of myself, but went on to have the best season. I had the goal of "playing in the majors" long ago, and then with the Minnesota Twins in the posting system I was able to get a contract three years in the majors—playing was the goal.

The posting system's reluctance to talk without the agreement of the team I was enrolled in the Japan, but it did not matter and I transferred at that time, and I really appreciate the Chiba Lotte Marines [Tsuyoshi's Japanese team before coming to America] baseball team agreeing smoothly to post me, and I moved to America.

I still have one-year in the three-year contract, why I am leaving the team, the Twins, is that could not get the results that are needed from the team, and it should rather go to someone straight. In the United States to play myself, we were keenly aware of the lack of power at all. I knew I will not be able to play in the major again in August when I was removed from the 40 man roster and dropped to the minor.

In this situation, I thought about the selection of what is good for myself and Twins. As a result, I decided and told myself, "you resigning the Minnesota Twins". But I do not regret coming to try and play in America!

Candidly, just did not get results said when attempting to measure up and guys, really sorry.

Right now, I do not have any guarantee that baseball can be played in a team somewhere, I do not know might be a need in Japan baseball, and also to work where needed would be a happy thing! But it is not a requirement! Therefore I would feel happy just to play again and want to stay in baseball!

Please support!

Basically, Nishioka looked at what would be best for himself and the Minnesota Twins—not just what was best for himself monetarily, as us Americans usually do—and decided it would be better for both parties, overall, if he asked for his release. It sounds a lot like the reasoning that led fellow Japanese star Ichiro Suzuki to surprisingly request he be traded from the Mariners earlier this year—he looked at the situation, and saw that the best thing not only for himself, but for his team, was to leave.

I do not understand how one has the reaction to take shots at Nishioka after this decision.

Anywho, it was quickly reported after his release that Nishioka had signed a deal to play baseball in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers. I wrote a small blip in one of my Twins Links posts a couple weeks ago about how the Tigers were very interested in Tsuyoshi and had come to scout him in Rochester. So I was not surprised.

It turns out, apparently Tsuyoshi has not yet signed with Hanshin, which is also apparently the closest team to where Nishi was born and is from ("Home-Team," if you will, and one of the reasons they would like him). Nishi has been negotiating a deal with Hanshin—but his old team, the Chiba Lotte Marines, just recently expressed interest in resigning him as well, given the past success he has brought the team (and much to the pissed-off-ment of the Tigers, who had been putting effort into getting Nishi for many more weeks).

So although the Nishioka era didn't, uh, exactly go as well as we had all hoped for in Minnesota, it looks as though a bad situation has come to the happiest ending we could all hope for—much in thanks to Nishi himself.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka—thank you, and best of luck in Japan.