Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka gave up $3.25 million in future pay and was granted his release from the Minnesota Twins after saying he was ashamed of his poor performance.
Nishioka will forgo the $3 million he was owed in 2013 on the final year of a three-year deal, and a $250,000 buyout, according to a statement released yesterday by the Major League Baseball team. The 28-year-old had asked to be released and is now a free agent.
Nishioka said in the statement that he refused the money because he was disappointed in the way he has performed in his two major-league seasons, both in Minnesota.
“I take full responsibility for my performance, which was below my own expectations,” he said. “At this time, I have made the decision that it is time to part ways. I have no regrets and know that only through struggle can a person grow stronger.”
Nishioka played in three games for the Twins this season, going 0-for-12 and committing two errors. He spent the majority of the season with the Rochester Red Wings, the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, where he hit .258 in 101 games with 42 runs scored, 53 strikeouts and a team-high 12 errors. In 2011, he hit .226 with five extra-base hits in 68 games.
Nishioka was the 2010 Nippon Professional Baseball batting champion in his native Japan. He also won the league’s equivalent of the Gold Glove award, given each season to the best fielder at each position.
Nishioka isn’t the first major-league player to give up guaranteed money that he felt was undeserved. Kansas City Royals pitcher Gil Meche retired after the 2010 season, forgoing his 2011 salary of $12 million, which was three times higher than anyone else on the team.
“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche told the New York Times. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com