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Team: Minnesota Twins
Total Cost: $14.57 million ($5.32 million posting fee, $9.25 million contract)
Date of Signing: Dec. 16, 2010
Tsuyoshi Nishioka secured a three-year deal with the Twins, coming off a huge 2010 season overseas. He led Nippon Professional Baseball in games, runs, hits and total bases, as reported by Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
Prior to that, however, the switching-hitting shortstop had persistently suffered from injuries. Knee, neck, feet and hamstring issues all contributed to either missed time and limited effectiveness during his eight summers with the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Regardless, Minnesota immediately plugged Nishioka into an everyday role, and his performance in 2011 spring training was actually very encouraging. The 26-year-old batted .345/.367/.414 in 20 games, striking out only twice, per MLB.com.
But that didn't carry over into the regular season, as Nishioka whiffed seven times through five games.
Then in career game No. 6 at Yankee Stadium, Nick Swisher plowed into him to break up a double play. The aggressive slide served its purpose but unintentionally resulted in a fractured fibula for Nishioka, which caused him to miss 10 weeks of action.
Nishioka returned in mid-June when the reigning AL Central champs were shockingly submerged in the division's cellar. The situation didn't improve for the team or the individual, as the Twins piled up 99 losses, their worst total in nearly three decades. Meanwhile, Nishioka's campaign was cut short by an oblique injury. He totaled 68 games with an anemic .226/.278/.249 batting line.
In 2012, Nishioka spent only one series in the majors. The Twins instead kept him at Triple-A for most of the season as he transitioned from shortstop to second base. His offense was still a huge concern, though, and the club expressed no desire to reinstate him on the active roster.
That realization convinced Nishioka to walk away from the final year of his contract, which would have guaranteed him $3.25 million, as reported by Josh Shipley of the Pioneer Press.
Of course, Nishioka's classy exit doesn't excuse his production. In 254 MLB plate appearances, he amassed only five extra-base hits. Edgar Diaz is the only other player (subscription required) in the designated hitter era to produce fewer of those in a career with at least that many plate appearances.