Today, the Twins announced they outrighted two players from their 40 man roster. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who was not a surprise at all, was one of them. The other, was Nick Blackburn. His move was almost stunning.
Blackburn had compiled a 4-9 record, in 19 starts this year, with a 7.39 ERA. Even with another year left on his deal, the Twins simply felt he could be no longer of any use to the team, at least for the remainder of this year. Blackburn is owed $5.5 million in 2013, and was making $4.75 million this year.
Nishioka was almost a no brainer. He had spent almost all of the season at AAA-Rochester (Only hitting .252), before getting a week with the Twins and he went hitless in his 12 at bats. Couple this year and last year (.226 in 68 games with the Twins in 2011), and you can see that Nishioka was simply outmatched after coming over from Japan.
But perhaps the thing that sticks out the most here, is that behind the Joe Mauer contract extension, Nishioka and Blackburn were probably the next two significant deals under the Bill Smith era. Nishioka signed a 3 year, $9 million deal prior to 2011, and Blackburn signed a 4 year, $14 million extension prior to the 2010 season. Obviously, much like the Smith era, they never panned out the way we hoped.
Both moves needed to be done. The Twins need to continue to rebuild the team, and they freed up two spots on the 40 man roster to help with the rebuild. Neither Blackburn and Nishioka had much future past 2013 with the Twins, so why not let them go in 2012?
Even despite the fact the Twins will have to pay the remainder of both their contracts, the moves could greatly benefit the Twins in 2013.
Lets hope they do...