Answering the Nishioka question

Or at least trying.

Do the Orioles have interest in Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka if he’s posted?

Yes, they do.

Is there a strong chance that they’ll get him?

It doesn’t look that way.

I guess that counts as two questions.

The Chiba Lotte Marines haven’t committed to posting Nishioka, so it could be a moot point, but he wants to come to the U.S. and the Orioles have scouted him. They favor him more than pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who has a 30-day window of exclusive negotiations with the Oakland Athletics. However, I don’t sense that the Orioles will be major players for Nishioka if he’s made available.

So much depends on the posting fee and the salary that he’ll command. Those numbers apparently turned off the Orioles in regard to Iwakuma. They figure that it made more sense to look inside the U.S. market if they sought another starting pitcher.

The Orioles believe that Nishioka can play second, shortstop and third in the majors. He’s viewed as a solid defensive player. And as a switch-hitter, he batted .346 with 20 steals for the Marines.

Intriguing, to say the least.

The Orioles are impressed with him and are figuring where he’d slot in comparison to other infielders on the free-agent market if he’s posted, but I wouldn’t look for him to be wearing “Baltimore” across his chest on Opening Day. My guess is other teams will value him more than the Orioles.

Don’t dismiss him completely, as I’ve been warned, but don’t get your hopes up, either.

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