Originally written on The Rhino and Compass  |  Last updated 11/20/14

Now, does everyone have their Tsuyoshi Nishioka jokes out of their system? All right, good. We get it now. The Twins added Tsuyoshi Nishioka for a pretty price after he had put up gaudy numbers and projected as a solid defensive infielder. Instead, he likely had some anxiety issues that came with high expectations, and those were fueled by off the field problems, none more explicit than a crumbling marriage. That led to an abysmal, brief Major League Baseball career.

In order to get some roster space and available cash for Nishioka, the Twins felt they needed to let Orlando Hudson go, and traded away JJ Hardy who, since he has gone to Baltimore, has become a solid power hitting option, in addition to having a good glove. These are the readily apparent issues that arose from the Nishioka experiment. My greater concern going forward is the message that it sends to the Pohlads. Don’t take chances, and don’t reward innovative thinking.

The two biggest blunders that fans point to in the Bill Smith tenure were also changes in the standard operating procedure to how the Twins regularly did things. And while the failures were somewhat spectacular, there were successes that need to be noted so the Pohlads don’t shy away from new ideas when they are brought to their attention.

Let’s start with the Nishioka thing. It was one of the first significant international free agents I can remember the Twins signing, at east in recent history. What was also notable was the amount of money it took to sign Nishioka. While Nishioka’s career with the Twins was an unmitigated failure, the signing of international free agents hasn’t been. Also under Bill Smith, the Twins added, most notably, Miguel Sano for an exorbitant sum, and he has been tearing up the minor leagues. Most prospect watchers in the Twins organization are very excited about his potential. Add that to a collection of Australians, Max Kepler and recently added Amaurys Minier (this season) and spending in the international free agent market has been a pretty decent option.

Another example hand wringing over the Twins under Bill Smith was the trade for Delmon Young. If I had described this trade to you as “the Twins traded from a position of strength for a position of need” I think people would have rallies around this move. Results after the trade aside, this is exactly what this move was. The Twins had an abundance of pitching prospects at the time, such as the eventually traded Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker. The Twins also had no bats on the right side of the plate, and a young, top overall pick was available. It hurt, but this trade seemed as though it would be mutually beneficial for the Twins and Rays. It didn’t quite work out like that. Of course, other trades, like the move of Carlos Gomez for JJ Hardy were successful, but those are long forgotten.

Terry Ryan was growing stilted as the team plateaued under his watch, and Bill Smith brought some new ideas to the table. They led to one of the best teams I have ever seen in Minnesota, but also to one of the worst. Terry Ryan’s latest tenure has shown signs of more open-mindedness. He long said that the Twins couldn’t be built through free agency, buy added team pillars Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit that way. It’s going to take some fresh ideas to fix the Twins, or at least a slight deviation away from the way it’s always been done. Personality over talent and developing and retaining players in house works some times, but after all, that’s how the team ended up stuck with Nick Blackburn.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Marcus Allen sounds off on Raiders for sack celebration

Report: Doctors found mass on Eric Berry's chest

Jay Gruden: RG3 to remain starter against Colts

LeBron James on four-game losing streak: 'I stink'

Report: Johnny Manziel and his entourage involved in brawl

Report: Mariners sign Kyle Seager to $100 million extension

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Reports confirm Ryan Mallett is out for the season

Golden Tate: Loss to Patriots was 'embarrassing'

Pete Carroll: Beating Cards ‘best feeling we’ve had all year’

Bill Belichick burns Dominic Raiola over cheap shot

Tom Brady: ‘It’s fun going to Lambeau’

Anquan Boldin after exchange with Jim Haslett: He’s irrelevant

Ohio State students covering every 'M' on campus

Tampa paper wants the Bears to take Josh McCown back

The top 25 greatest rivalries in college football history

WATCH: Tom Brady sits down for interview with Randy Moss

UNC vandalized Duke locker room with spray paint after win

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez highlight Hall of Fame ballot

Sales of Odell Beckham Jr.'s jersey on the rise

RG3 struggles again, Redskins offense stuck in neutral

12 amazing stats from Week 12

Hockey Fights of the Week

Three head coaches who won't be with current team in 2015

Katy Perry confirmed as Super Bowl XLIX halftime performer

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Greatest college football rivalries

LeBron on losing streak: 'I stink'

Report: Manziel, friends get in brawl

Tate: Loss to Pats was 'embarrassing'

Bill Belichick burns Dominic Raiola

Boldin on Haslett: He's irrelevant

Pablo Sandoval signs with Red Sox?

Beckham makes the catch of the season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 12

WWE Survivor Series results

Report: Red Sox set to add Hanley Ramirez

Dominic Raiola admits to dirty play

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.