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Twins win bidding rights to Japanese SS/2B Nishioka

November 26, 2010

Today we learned that the Twins were the team that submitted the high bid for Nishioka’s negotiating rights, and the Chiba Lotte Marines announced last night that they have accepted that bid.

Chiba Lotte has said the bid was for around $5 million. Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the winning bid was $5.3 million.

Nishioka batted .346 last year and won the Japanese Pacific League batting title. The Twins will have 30 days to exclusively negotiate with Nishioka.  If no deal is struck, the Twins would reclaim the $5 million posting fee.

Nishioka said yesterday, “I feel honored to be bid by MLB club and am extremely excited. I appreciate that Chiba Lotte gave me this opportunity.”  Nishioka, 26, is a speedy switch hitter who can play both shortstop and second base and will most likely be the Twins number 2 hitter in the lineup in front of Joe Mauer.

The Twins are expected to offer JJ Hardy a contract in the next week or so, if a deal with Nishioka is signed it is expected that the Twins will try to deal JJ Hardy to another team seeking a SS.  JJ Hardy could be part of a package that brings a Starting Pitcher to Target Field in 2011.  The Twins could also opt to keep Hardy and move Nishioka to 2B, which would put Casilla as a back up infielder.  Hardy will most likely command around $7 million this year and by most reports it seems that they will not want to pay that.  Nishioka is expected to sign a deal in the neighborhood of $15 million for 3 years.

For more on Nishioka, you can visit a post from last week here.  An official announcement from the Twins is expected later today.  For more coverage on the Twins and Nishioka, make sure you check out Joe Christensons blog throughout the day on startribune.com .

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