MLB and the NPB have jointly announced on Thursday that they have come to an agreement on a change to the posting system which facilitates the movement of Japanese players across the Pacific.
The major change of the new system is the introduction of a cap on the posting fee for a player at $20 million.
All teams that tie for the highest bid would then be allowed to negotiate with the player.
This is in comparison to the old system where the posting fee was unlimited and only the highest bidder was free to negotiate with the player.
The biggest losers in the deal seem to be the Japanese owners who will lose out in deals for players who would once have commanded a posting fee in excess of $20 million.
Masahiro Tanaka of the Rakuten Golden Eagles would likely have commanded a posting fee in the region of that commanded by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters on release of phenom pitcher Yu Darvish, who was posted for $51.7 million in late 2011.
However, under the new rules the Golden Eagles will only receive $20 million for the opportunity to discuss contractual terms with the pitcher and people are now reporting that Tanaka may stay in Japan for at least another year.
Ultimately Tanaka and future Japanese stars who come to the MLB will win through this new agreement. Money saved by clubs due to the posting fee cap will likely find its way instead into a higher average annual dollar figure in the player’s new stateside contract.
Only three players have commanded posting fees in excess of $20 million dollars in the past, Yu Darvish from the Rangers, Daisuke Matsuzaka from the Red Sox and Kei Igawa from the Yankees.
Posting fees were in the region of $51.7, $51.1 and $26 million respectively.
Other players who have reached agreements through the posting system include:
Alejandro Quezada, Reds, 1999
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners, 2000
Kazuhisa Ishii, Dodgers, 2002
Ramon Ramirez, Yankees, 2003
Akinori Otsuka, Rangers, 2003
Norihiro Nakamura, Dodgers, 2005
Shinji Mori, Devil Rays, 2005
Akinori Iwamura, Devil Rays, 2006
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Twins, 2010
Norichika Aoki, Brewers, 2011
A number of teams looking for a potential ace pitcher now wait patiently for news of Tanaka’s posting with rumoured suitors including the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Yankees and the Dodgers.
Tanaka’s posting would also help to get the market for second tier free agent starters moving, a list which is comprised of risky long term bets like Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez
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