To Sign or Not To Sign Nishioka

Ken Gurnick weighs in on whether or not the Dodgers should sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka. (I still have to spellcheck that name three times every time I write it).

The Dodgers also have been linked to Japanese batting champ Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but the team’s interest apparently doesn’t match that of the player, who has let it be known that he wants to play for a West Coast team.

As a second baseman without power, Nishioka doesn’t appear to be a fit for the Dodgers, who need a slugging left fielder, a catcher with Russell Martin coming off a broken hip and a third baseman who could hasten Casey Blake‘s transition to utility. Signing Nishioka would also require a seven-figure posting fee paid to his Japan club. The Dodgers are leaning toward keeping Ryan Theriot at second base, although he is a non-tender candidate.

To be completely honest, this is a great point. The Dodgers have two pretty decent replacement players (or better) in the minors in Chin-lung Hu and Ivan DeJesus with the possibility of hanging onto Ryan Theriot. While Nishioka brings promise of high contact, he’s not that much different than Juan Pierre. That’s good to have sometimes, and especially at a position like second base (even though his defense is supposedly lackluster), but it needs to be at the right price.

If his posting fee is, say, $10 million, then that’s a problem. That’s $10 million that could’ve immediately gone to a free agent power hitter or power pitcher. And that’s also not including Nishioka’s contract.

Factor in that Nishioka is the Nippon League batting champ and you can see where the MLB and NPL will differ on this. Someone may throw a good amount for the posting fee, but that’d be a mistake.

And again, remember that the Dodgers have two potential replacement-level second basemen in the minors and Theriot to play with.

Nishioka also represents a huge problem offensively. What Nishioka did in the NPL is decent, but there’s a very good chance that he performs below average in MLB. Basically Nishioka is what the Dodgers DON’T need. Unless the posting fee is cheap.

Seems to make more sense to err on the smaller side of the posting fee. Put up a post for a couple million, see what happens. If you win, good, you can sign Nishioka for a light contract or be reimbursted for the posting fee if no agreement is reached. If not, then no skin off your back.

Hopefully Colletti does that.

Earlier on in that same article, Gurnick reports that the Dodgers are close to a deal with Hiroki Kuroda. That’d be really great, since Kuroda was the team’s second-best pitcher last year and he’s had no injury concerns minus one year where he got plunked in the head and suffered PTSD (thank God that’s not a concern anymore.

Regardless, the rotation is filled with Kuroda, with a hole at the 5th starter spot probably reserved for Carlos Monasterios or John Ely or some reclamation project. (Wang, perhaps?)

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