By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Twins were scheduled to meet today with Rick Thurman, the agent for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
The Twins have been in contact with Thurman since it was announced they had posted the winning bid for Nishioka’s exclusive negotiating rights on Nov. 26. Twins general manager Bill Smith said last week that the two sides would likely talk again this week as they try to make progress on a contract. The club has until Dec. 26 to work out a deal for the switch-hitting infielder or they will have their approximately $5 million posting fee given back to them.
Indications are that Nishioka is seeking a three-year deal. So far the expectation has been that the Twins will get a deal worked out with Nishioka before the Dec. 26 deadline. But the club could try to get something done well before that date if they are serious about trading shortstop J.J. Hardy in the near future. A number of teams are reportedly interested in Hardy, but it seems unlikely that the club would move the shortstop before they are certain that they’ll get a deal done with Nishioka.