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.
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.
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.
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.
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?