Thursday, August 9, 2012

A matter of credibility

Tsuyoshi Nishioka committing his error in the second
inning. He had two other misplays, neither of which was
ruled an error, but both of them adding to the evidence
that he's overmatched by major league ball.
The previous post was composed during Wednesday's game with the intent of publishing it overnight.  But as the game progressed and the tweets from the beat writers and the commentary from the broadcasters added up, I became convinced that overnight would be too late — that Tsuyoshi Nishioka would be deleted from the roster before the team got back to Minnesota. So I published soon after the final out and headed to work.

By the time I got there, it was apparent that Nishi wasn't an immediate goner after all. Ron Gardenhire declined to comment in any depth on Nishioka's problems after the game. Terry Ryan — this was one of the road trips Ryan did not make — declined via email to comment to the Star Tribune on Nishioka. Glen Perkins, bless his teammate-loving soul, defended Nishioka to the media.

And Nishioka was dashing off from Cleveland back to Rochester, N.Y., to gather his belongings to take to Minnesota. He's expecting to stick.


If Ryan, Gardenhire and Co. didn't discuss the Nishioka Follies on Wednesday, I'm sure they will today.

I don't know if they see this the way I do: It's a crisis. Playing Nishioka at this point undermines the organization's credibility. There are plenty of debatable decisions involved in shaping a roster and running the games, and those of us watching the games but not making the decisions can disagree with the decisions — but we can generally grasp the reasons behind those decisions.

This is the exception. This is the case when the decision is so inexplicable, so utterly and obviously wrong, as to defy rationalization.

I know: the Twins invested $14 million in Nishioka. That money's gone.  It was wasted, and acting differently isn't going to change that reality. The money is not a good reason to play Nishioka.

The money is not a good reason, but it is the closest thing to a reason. Nishioka was awful last year; he did nothing in Triple A to justify bringing him back; he was, if anything, worse in the Cleveland series.

Playing him at second base this weekend in Target Field will be an insult to the paying customers, and don't imagine that the insult will be overlooked. Anybody listening to Dick-n-Bert, or reading the tweets from Joe Christensen, John Shipley and Rhett Bollinger, knows that those observers were appalled by what they saw in Cleveland.

The Twins have spent the summer making an honest effort to get better after a terrible 2011 and a horrible first six weeks, and they've made genuine progress on that.

Nishioka's presence undermines that progress. He's got to go. The longer it takes management to figure that out, the worse this farce will be.

1 comment:

  1. Seems to me their continued willingness to give the ball to Blackburn every fifth day is a similar example of a refusal to face their mistake. Blackburn will never be a contributor to a pennant contender. Release them both and turn the page.