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masahiro tanakaAccording to a report from the Japan Times, Major League Baseball and the players association for the Nippon Professional Baseball league have agreed to a new posting system, which will allow top Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to be posted in short order, should his team wish to do so. It appears that there are still formal approvals required over the next week or so (MLB and the NPB players association have agreed, but it needs a stamp from a particular NPB committee early next week), but it’s unclear if we’ll have to wait another week for the Tanaka process to begin. It does not sound like, however, that there will be any holdups in this new two-year agreement taking effect soon.

Under the new system, MLB teams would still submit blind bids for the rights to negotiate with Tanaka, and the winner would still be the team that submitted the highest bid.

The primary change to the system is that the actual posting price paid to sign the player would be the average between the top two bids. For example, if the top two blind bids for Tanaka were $100 million and $90 million, the team bidding $100 million would win the rights to negotiate with Tanaka, but the posting price would be just $95 million.

In the past, teams have been given a certain period of time to come up with their bid – two weeks, a month, etc. Once Tanaka is officially posted, we’ll learn when bids are due, and then we will likely know when the winner will be determined. It could all happen relatively quickly, and I’m certain MLB teams hope it will, given that it impacts the rest of their offseason plans.

Under this system, I am suspicious of the Cubs’ ability to be the top bidder for Tanaka, despite their public statements of interest in him.

UPDATE: Something lost in translation? While the report out of Japan made it seem as though this system being done was a fait accompli, Ken Rosenthal reports this just now:

So, what’s the deal? Maybe there’s a concern that, although the Japanese players have accepted this system, the team owners won’t? I don’t see why they wouldn’t, since this “top bid wins, average of top two bids is what’s paid” system is definitely not going to artificially depress posting prices. I’m now immediately suspicious, as I should have been before, of why MLB’s owners would be on board with that reported system, since it does nothing to keep costs down.

I guess the sides will continue to negotiate, assuming the report out of Japan was flat-out inaccurate.

  • George Steinbrenner

    This is the pissant small market teams crapping all over the Yankees ability to do what we have always done, and that is to outbid the world for a player we frigging want ! I’m steaming in my grave !

  • oswego chris

    As much as a I would like Tanaka this year, the posting system is total B.S….what should happen is the NPB team should make them available…the player and his agent negotiate with all of the teams..and then the NPB team would get a “signing” bonus based on the size of the contract…this is a far worse deal than what the NPB teams get now, but the MLB teams should hold strong and wait until the players become true free agents then

    hey, globalization is fine, but MLB teams have been held up for ransom by these teams for years

    • George Steinbrenner

      Horsecrap. This is unfettered capitalism and a truly free market being squashed. If I can outbid the world to get Tanaka then so be it. This is America, and if we are going to subsidize the small market teams and every turn then to hell with it all.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        if baseball were capitalistic every free agent would be free to leave their team at any time. fortunately this is not the case.

    • Edwin

      Why should the NPB have to make these players available? They signed to play on an NPB team. If the NPB is losing this talent to MLB, then the NPB deserves to be compensated, and deserves a chance to be able to sell their asset.

      Otherwise, why shouldn’t the Yankee’s be able to negotiate with Javier Baez, sign him to a deal, and give the Cubs a % of the contract as a “bonus”?

  • Joycedaddy

    I think this move does a few things that will be negative to the entire process. It will scare away mid-market teams from bidding against the Dodgers & Yankees of the MLB, and it will push those players only to major market teams, which for the most part tends to happen anyways. I think that the big market clubs will start to become hesitant to make such a large investment on players they have minimal knowledge of, and this will turn into a situation somewhat similar to the free agents tied to draft pick compensation. All in all, I see what the NPB is trying to do and the MLB as well, but this sounds like it’ll only make the entire process worse for everybody.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Honestly, I could care less about Tanaka. Despite all the rumor bs floating around, there is 0.0% chance the Cubs are going to have the highest bid. Discussion of Tanaka is waste o’ time so far as the Cubs go.

    • mjhurdle

      You should really send your resume to the front office. They appear to somehow think they have at least a slim shot at Tanaka.
      You should take your inside knowledge there and let them know they are wasting their time.

    • bbmoney

      I’m surprised you could care less if that’s how you feel about it.

      • Edwin

        Two woman are out to dinner and are complaining about the food. The first one says “This has got to be the worst food I’ve ever been served in my life!”. The second one says “I know, and such small portions!”

      • Patrick W.

        Yes, he could care less. If he couldn’t care less, that is he wasn’t caring at all and so there’s no way for him to care about it less, he wouldn’t have an opinion.

  • Geo

    MLB has the upper hand , they need to play chicken with the npb & see who blinks first. Who else will pay these high posting prices Korean baseball league?

    • Edwin

      I guess the NPB would be forced to keep their talented players in their own league.

  • Frank

    I think if the MLB teams want these Japanese players so bad, they’d better what they do with the Latin American players. Draft them out of high school and develop them. Maybe the Cubs should consider opening a training facility in Korea or Taiwan like they did in the DR.

    • On The Farm

      “I think if the MLB teams want these Japanese players so bad, they’d better what they do with the Latin American players. Draft them out of high school and develop them.”

      Well I think you mean scout them and sign them out of high school since there is no draft of the Latin America system (yet).

      I also don’t think this method would work particularly well in the Asia markets.

      • Frank

        My fingers were going faster than my brain. What I meant was the same thing the Cubs did with the Latin American kids, like you said, scout them, sign them and develop them.

    • SH

      Yeah the bigger problem for MLB teams is the structure in place in countries like Japan. The posting fee goes to a team over there; we would need to get them in our system before they play for a team that demands money from us to take their player. There are a number of reasons why I can see that being less popular with players in those countries than it is in countries where the only way to really get paid through baseball is by coming to America.

  • North Side Irish

    What little I’ve read on this said it’s being held up largely because the small market teams want the posting fee to count against the luxury tax. Randy Levine blew up over that because it would completely tank the Yankees plans and the Pirates owner is leading the small market side. They need to put this on Pay Per View…

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