The Twins officially agreed to terms with Tsuyoshi Nishioka on a three-year, $9MM deal, the team announced today. The deal, which came together soon after the infielder arrived in Minneapolis, includes a club option for a fourth year.
Last year, Nishioka batted .346 with 22 steals and 206 hits. ESPN.com's Keith Law and Patrick Newman of FanGraphs recently explained the switch-hitter's game in detail. The Twins have traded J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson is a free agent, so Nishioka and Alexi Casilla figure to be the team's everyday infielders in 2011.
The Twins won the right to negotiate with Nishioka on November 26th when the Chiba Lotte Marines accepted Minnesota's bid. The sides had 30 days to reach an agreement. The Giants, Dodgers, and Cardinals reportedly had some interest in Nishioka and the Red Sox submitted a bid in the mid-$2MM range, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Minnesota's winning bid was for about $5.3MM, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).