Should Yankees Pursue Japanese Shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka?

The Yankees are just beginning negotiations with their Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter, but another shortstop could be hitting the market whom might also draw some interest from them.

I’m talking about Japanese shortstops Tsuyoshi Nishioka who could be posted by his team this week.

Here is what Patrick Newman wrote about him on FanGraphs recently:

Nishioka has two Gold Gloves on his resume, awarded in 2005 (as a second baseman) and 2007 (as a shortstop). My observation is that he really has great range, but his arm is a somewhat below average as a shortstop.

[snip]

After a career filled with nagging wrist, knee and neck injuries, 2010 was the first season that Nishioka was healthy enough to play a full, 144-game schedule, and he responded with a career year. Notably, he lead the Pacific League in hits with 206, becaming the second Pacific Leaguer to surpass the 200 hit mark (the first was Ichiro). He posted a career highs in all three slash categories, at .346/.423/.482 easily eclipsing his previous bests of .300/.366/.463.

[snip]

Nishioka is not much of a home run threat, but has good speed and will leg out the occasional triple, and swiped 22 bases in 33 attempts last year. Nishioka is a switch hitter, who hit well from both sides of the plate last year (.387 as a righty, .329 as a lefty).

With Robinson Cano locked in at second base, that’s not an option for him with the Yankees, but they could slowly work him in as the shortstop in 2011 before moving Jeter out of the position in 2012.

It seems extremely unlikely, but with speed and a bat like that he could be a tempting option for the Yankees as Jeter will be 38 in 2012. Moving him now might seem like it’s impossible, but moving him the year after could happen.

Also, pitchers coming to America might have struggled to adjust, but hitters like Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui have been very successful.

I’m thinking that realistically there is no chance this happens, but it’s worth thinking about. It is possible that if they did do this that the team would be better off in the long run. Still only 26, Nishioka could potentially be a Yankee for a long time.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to see the Yankees put in a bid on Nishioka?

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6 Responses to Should Yankees Pursue Japanese Shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka?

  1. NYYank55 says:

    no

  2. [email protected] says:

    N for no and Nunez!

  3. steven says:

    sure if this guy is as good as they say y not put him into ss wen jeter retires till then ull have 1 hell of a bench player

  4. Mike B. says:

    With the exception of Godzilla we don't have luck with Asian players. Take a Pass.

  5. It's always a plus-plus to have a shortstop that can hit, but defense for the position is more important. Why pursue a SS that has a short arm and is injury prone?

    If Ramiro Pena improves on his swing, he in my opinion would be a viable option to relieve Jeter at SS. He's got speed, a strong arm and he can steal bases.

  6. MikeD says:

    I'd be concerned about his injury history, but more so his recent season appears to be a bit of a UFO with the bat. He only once prior had hit .300, exactly on the nose.

    I'm not in favor, but there is one way they could break him in if they're serious. Supposedly he can play all three infield postions (not including 1B), so he could serve in that infield utility role the Yankees have been seeking. Give him 30 games at SS, 30 games at 3B and 10 or so at second as we rest or rotate our regulars through the DH slot. If he looks good, he can take over SS in 2012 as Jeter shifts to third and A-Rod to DH.