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masahiro tanakaIt all makes sense now.

Earlier today, a report out of Japan indicated that the NPB players association had accepted a proposal from MLB to get a new posting system agreement in place for shipping under-contract Japanese players to MLB. The prior agreement, under which a simple blind bidding system was used, expired earlier this year. The new system would still grant the negotiating rights to the MLB team with the highest bid, but the payment price would be the average of the top two bids.

It struck me that this wouldn’t really do the one thing MLB had sought to do in this process, which was push the posting prices down. But, the report exuded confidence that an agreement was in place, and we all went on our merry way plotting Masahiro Tanaka’s eventual arrival in New York or L.A.

At the GM Meetings this morning, specifically the owner’s meetings there, Ken Rosenthal reported that some owners were expressing doubt that a deal would get done. I was confused: hadn’t a report in Japan just said that the NPB players association accepted MLB’s offer, and the NPB would soon sign off? Why would MLB be the one making an offer to be accepted if there is a belief among some owners that a deal wouldn’t get done in the first place?

That’s where a handy new report by the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff comes in, and fills in the blanks. In short, everything transpired as reported, but not all owners are on board with the new posting system. He quotes MLB’s COO Rob Manfred as saying, “When we gave [NPB] the offer, we told them we needed a timely response because there could be shifting winds. There are shifting winds.” In other words, NPB has taken its time accepting, formally, MLB’s posting system plan – indeed, there are still some approvals needed in Japan – and, in the meantime, some owners have started rallying support to oppose the system MLB devised.

The identities of those owners shouldn’t surprise you: it’s the small market clubs, for obvious reasons. In a league that is otherwise designed to balance out the financial side of things to put teams on a relatively even playing ground, astronomic posting fees for exclusive negotiating rights favor only the large market teams. Read Davidoff’s piece for an account of just how things are playing out.

What happens now? Well, it depends on whether the small market clubs can get more owners to rally to their side. If they have enough support to scuttle this particular proposal (the “top two bidder average price, but only one winner” proposal), the entire process might be sufficiently delayed to inhibit any Japanese players from being posted this offseason in a timely manner.

If Tanaka is not posted this offseason, his team could try to post him again next year – the year before he reaches free agency. And, if not deal is in place by then, MLB teams will just have to wait two more years for Tanaka to reach that free agency.

From the Cubs’ perspective, this entire discussion is interesting. With respect to Tanaka, specifically, the Cubs would probably side with the smaller market clubs, hoping for a system that allows more teams to the table. But with respect to the system, generally, and in the long-term? The Cubs might prefer the big-money, blind-bidding system after all.

On the balance, I’d still bet that a deal gets done soon enough for posting to continue this year. It just might not quite be the same posting system we’ve been used to in the past. One suggestion from a small market club? The posting fee counts against the luxury tax cap. You can imagine how well that idea was received by the Yankees.

  • Kyle

    If he’s not posted, Cubs can just claim they planned to go all-out on him and that shows they really aren’t being cheap and broke and doomed. It’s perfect!

    It’d be fascinating to see him taken off the market just from the sense that it would only drive up insane prices to even insaner levels on the remaining pitching.

    • ari gold

      and could potentially drive up the return if we were to trade Shark

      • Eternal Pessimist

        But since Tanaka will likely be pitching against the Cubs anyway, nothing is really lost competitively for the Cubs. If the overall MLB talent is diminished overall it just means that baseball will be less exciting, but won’t change the overall balance of power.

    • ssckelley

      not everything circles around the conniving Cubs FO

      • Kyle

        Not in this case. This would just be good fortune. It’s way more convincing if he’s not posted vs. just leaking you were the 2nd place bidder.

        • ssckelley

          you are trying to hard

          • Kyle

            I wish I could say the same for our front office. *rimshot*

            • MightyBear

              OK Boras

          • SH

            That strikes me as out of left field and something better suited to a personal conversation.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Excellent! It’s nice to see that Theo et al. got several other teams to join in the long con of making it look like they are trying. (I mean, you have to applaud the effort!)

    • Eric

      Cynicism ≠ logic

  • ETS

    The system isn’t really fair to small market teams, but I struggle to think of alternatives that are fair to NPB teams.

    • Kyle

      You know what would be fun?

      If MLB let small-market teams post players under team control under a similar format. The money would flow back and forth really quickly.

      • Jono

        They could. Instead if trading their players for prospects, they could trade them for money. There’s nothing stopping them from doing that. Has that ever happened? I know sometimes a team will simply take on a players full contract as a salary dump for the selling team. But I don’t think there’s ever been a trade where the buying team gives MORE than the contract value

        How much would the cubs pay for price?

        • SH

          The Commissioner’s office has to approve any trade with a substantial cash sum — that’s the only thing I can see holding it back. They might not like the look of teams “selling” players to other teams?

          • Jono

            Thats true. Although, I don’t see why he wouldn’t allow it. But maybe, you never know

        • Kyle

          The commissioner’s office won’t approve trades that are for anything more than a minimal cash gain.

          • Jono

            I didn’t know that was a thing (I knew about the commish approval for trades, but not that anything more than minimal cash gain would be denied). I guess it would’ve happened already if it would allowed

        • jt

          I think Tom Yawkey, RS owner, bought the $100,000 infield from Connie Mack.
          Did the Yanks send a player to Boston for Ruth?

          • MightyBear

            No.

            • MightyBear

              No.

          • MightyBear

            Nanette

            • Fishin Phil

              Tee, hee, hee.

          • frank

            Cy Young was traded for a men’s suit. One story says a men’s suit and $250.

        • Mrs. Howell

          “Best Interests of Baseball.” Bowie Kuhn basically screwed Charlie Finley by disallowing the sale of players he was going to lose to free agency anyway.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Love it.

      • Jono

        Examle: if the rays feel like they need choo more that the price. They sell price and use that money to cover a bunch of the cost of choo. Am I overthinking this?

      • On The Farm

        Or adopt what the European football (soccer) clubs do, lease players to teams. That would be interesting.

        • Jono

          Thats probably a good template

          • EQ76

            why stop there? we could sell the assistant to the traveling secretary to a team for some Tyson chicken strips in the ball park!

            • DarthHater

              Tyler alcoholic chicken!

            • Pat

              Or $50 and a case of beer.

      • ssckelley

        Neat idea, but the posting team has to use the money towards payroll.

    • Austin

      How about just buying out the rest of the contract and then maybe add on half of whatever the player is owed? So iteams would pay 150% of the contract the player currently has. Seems like that would be pretty fair. So they are still getting a good amount from the teams

  • ssckelley

    Counting against the luxury tax might help level the playing field. But Japan would never agree to it since it drives the posting fees down. The only way this might work is if they add the posting fee to the amount and term they come to agreement with the player for.

    • Edwin

      My understanding is that currently, the fee to negotiate with the player does not count against the luxury cap. The contract with the player would still count against the cap.

      Small market teams want the posting fee to count against the Cap, since it would take a loophole away from a team like the Yankees. However, the NPB does not like that, since it would result in lower bids.

      What are you suggesting?

      • ssckelley

        Take Tanaka for example, say the Yankees pay 100 million posting fee and then sign him to a 10 year 100 million contract it could be treated as a 10 year 200 million total contact. So the impact towards luxury tax is 20 million per year.

    • Sandberg

      Maybe I am confused, but I don’t think NPB would have any say in whether the posting fees counted in MLB luxury tax calculations. In fact, I think that’s the fairest possible solution here.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Almora leaves game in Mesa with what sounds like a minor injury.

    @BerniePleskoff: #Cubs Almora left the game. Replaced by @Angels Zach Borenstein who promptly hits a two run homer as Mesa ow leads 3-0 here in Glendale.

    @BerniePleskoff: @2008_nbalottery @Angels Saw him talking to the trainer an inning or so ago. If he’s hurt, it’s minor. No news being offered here.

    • Jono

      Is it premature to call Almora injury prone?

      • Patrick W.

        Only to the same level it is premature to call his offensive comp to be Darwin Barney.

      • This Isn’t Russia

        It’s different when you are a blue chip prospect in the minors. They are always going to take error on the side of caution. If Almora has a broken finger nail then he’s going to have recovery time. As it should be. Treat all your top propsects like Faberge eggs.

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        I don’t think he’s injury prone. I just think he’s gotten unlucky so far in his short career.

        Another update…

        @BerniePleskoff: @CubsDen He may have tweaked something running to 1B. It doesn’t look serious at all because he played another inning. No news here.

        • Jono

          Good news

      • SH

        It’s an interesting point. We call Ellsbury “injury prone” because he broke bones as the result of collisions, but the real “injury prone” types are more like Matt Kemp — always held back by nagging things. Here’s hoping he doesn’t, but being reminded that we shouldn’t bank too much on any given 19-yo who has never played professional ball before.

        • Voice of Reason

          SH typed:

          “We call Ellsbury “injury prone” because he broke bones as the result of collisions, but the real “injury prone” types are more like Matt Kemp — always held back by nagging things.”

          What in the hell are you trying to say? Ellsbury’s injuries aren’t really injuries because the injuries occur in collissions, but Kemp’s injuries are injuries because his injuries don’t happen as the result of collissions?

          • Jono

            It makes sense. Injuries from freak accidents shouldn’t cause someone to be labelled “injury prone” as much as people who get reoccurring injuries like pulls ir strains. One type of injury can be due to the guy’s body having tighter muscles or bc he doesn’t stretch enough. That might indicate more injuries in the future. Then there’s a guy who happen to get random, freak injuries, like collisions or getting hit by a pitch in the wring place

            • Voice of Reason

              Ellsbury has missed one out of every 3 games in his career.

              That is injury prone no matter how you want to cut it!

              • Voice of Reason

                Oh, Kemp is injury prone, too!!

                • Professor Snarks

                  Speaking of injury prone, does anyone know how bad Almora was hurt today?

                  • Professor Snarks

                    After I asked this question, I scrolled up. My apologies

              • Jono

                No one said he wasn’t. You need better reading comprehension. We’re just saying that we should be quicker to use that term for a guy like kemp and more hesitant for a guy like ellsbury. No where did anyone say that he isn’t injury prone

                • SH

                  You did a good deed today, Jono, in responding to that asinine comment for me.

                • Jono

                  Example: im hesitant to use the word “retarded” bc it’s not PC. Bt guess what? I did use it. Being conservative with a use of a term doesn’t mean we never use it.

                  • Tony_S

                    Why not? I don’t want to go too far down the rabbit hole here, but sometimes our collective thinking (as Americans, or as people) is flawed.

                    You shouldn’t use the word “retarded” in a derogatory or slang way because it’s potentially offensive to mentally retarded or mentally handicapped individuals. (Not trying to start an argument, I’m restating/expanding what I felt your intent was).

                    Now, why *doesn’t* it mean that we stop using it completely in the negative fashion? Why don’t we stamp it out completely, or do a better job stamping out racist or homophobic slurs for that matter?

                    With a proactive attitude and an actual effort, you’d be amazed what you can change, within yourself and those around you. Too often we simply accept things as they are.

                    Random .02…. Carry on!

                • Voice of Reason

                  Well, “let the record show” that we need to do a better job — from now on — on how we label baseball players who are pussys!

                  • Jono

                    Ok, voice…..

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Can that comment be edited?

          • Jono

            And of course no one is saying a broken bone isn’t an injury. That’s retarded (pardon my non-PC language)

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I’m not inclined to pardon it. That’s a never-ok word.

              • DarthHater

                Soler’s development in the minors has been retarded by injuries. Nyah! :-P

                • hansman

                  I retarded the timing on my car last weekend

              • Jono

                Ok. Sorry, brett.

                • Voice of Reason

                  I used the word pussy today.

                  Is that ok?

                  • Jono

                    Youre asking me?

                  • DarthHater

                    Actually, you used the word “pussys,” which is never ok because it isn’t a word.

              • Tony_S

                Thanks Brett.

            • MichiganGoat

              Look into the history of that word and you’ll see why.

              • Jono

                Im well aware of it. Brett told me he doesn’t want that word used, so I said OK and apologized. Cased closed. It’s done.

                • Mike F

                  With all the lawyer references are OK, can I be the Judge, cause I am a lot like Judge Roy B only I like to hang people…..

  • This Isn’t Russia

    This isn’t Russia. Why does a system have to be fair? I don’t get that argument at all. If baseball needs to constantly subsidize the smaller market teams, then maybe its time for contraction in the sport. Seriously. This is America. This is the free enterprise system at work. If the Yankees want to bid a crapload of money for a player who has been posted, then they should be allowed to do and win the bid. We are finding out that the market corrects itself. Remember when the Yankees blew $26 M on Kei Igawa? Or the Angels paid $252 M for Albert Pujols? Those are just two examples of where a big market team made an investment that turned up poorly. We don’t need to force legislate this stuff. Let the highest bidder win the rights to Tanaka. If the Yankees thing Tanaka is worth a $150 M bid, then that is their perogative and they live with the consequences both good and bad.

    • SH

      Baseball is the only officially-sanctioned monopoly. If you want to make a pro-competition argument, you’ve got bigger fish to fry than the posting system’s particulars.

    • On The Farm

      ‘Murica!

    • Patrick W.

      I’m preeeeeeeeeety sure this is Russia.

      • Patrick W.

        Just checked. This is totally Russia. I’m even more confident now. Russia = this. Ninety Five percent sure.

        • On The Farm

          damn, looks like I need to update my google maps app.

        • DarthHater

          I can see it from my porch, too.

          • Patrick W.

            Sweet, Sweet Mother Russia. This is it.

            • SH

              irlol

              dude you’re killing it today

    • Stinky Pete

      I find it fascinating that your name is “This Isn’t Russia” and then you write a post about how THIS ISN’T RUSSIA!!! Wow. What are the odds?

      • Fishin Phil

        15:1

      • DarthHater

        Something like that could never happen in Russia.

        • Patrick W.

          And yet it has. Here, in Russia. So никогда не говори никогда!

          • DarthHater

            не получают прикладом больно об этом

            • Patrick W.

              ANOTHER gap in my app.

              • DarthHater

                :-P

              • hansman

                In soviet russia, the app blocks you

                • miggy80

                  All of this USSR talk is offending my Latvian heritage which was oppressed by these tyrants for decades!

                  • hansman

                    You really wouldnt like the fact my ancestors are german then.

            • Mike F

              Damn and I thought I was in Kiev all this time, what I learn here…..

      • hansman

        Thats also a really unfortunate name. “Hello, my name is This”

        “Ok, what is it?”

        And hilarity ensues.

  • CubChymyst

    I see no way for any posting or non-posting system to benefit the smaller market team in obtaining Asian players. However, allowing more teams to bid on a players contract will inflate the contracts the Asian players get so they will not be at market instead of well below. If more teams could of dealt with Darvish then his contract would likely be closer to 20M a year (a much fairer market price) instead of the 10 he gets now.

    If I was a small market I’d try to get the Asian players anual contracts to go up so that big market teams don’t get players like Darvish at discount prices. When they get a player like Darvish or Ryu at a discount you also have the ability to spend freely in free agency.

  • bobk

    I would like to see the 3 highest bidders postings averaged and then allow the player to choose between the 3. This would allow mid market teams a slight opportunity. It would also save money for the large market teams averaging out the bids. The bids will still remain high and favor the large marge teams but at least the mid market guys have an opportunity this way.

    Regardless the posting process is tought to swallow tossing out millions just for the chance to negotiate an additional multimillion dollar contract. That would be like me paying a huge fee for the opportunity to pay my bills. Seems a bit of a waste

  • Jman

    Just stop with the whole posting fee crap and when a Japanese player becomes a free agent then he can be like any other free agent. To me it’s just ridiculous paying $50 – $100 mil just to have the rights to talk to that player.

    [Ed. – the word is Japanese.]

    • SH

      Flag post

      • Beauner

        Agreed. I mean I got banned from MLBTradeRumors for calling a guy a troll.

    • On The Farm

      Well that is the thing. If an Asian player is a Free Agent (meaning he isn’t under any contract by a team in Asia) he is free to sign with whichever team he chooses. But when he is not a Free Agent and is under contract he can request that his team post the rights to bid for his services.

      So one way to fix this is to just wait until Asian players are no longer under contract by their team and they are free to negotiate with whomever they please. If it wasn’t worth the $50-100 million dollar posting fee, teams wouldn’t do it.

    • TWC

      Is your use of that term due to ignorance, or are just you being a dick? Either way, it’s an offensive term for someone of Japanese descent.

      • MichiganGoat

        Don’t you remember “Just Attitude Prepared”?

        • TWC

          Oh, my… yes. Yes, now I do.

          • MichiganGoat

            The “Law of Averages” and this were my favorite Better moments.

        • Drew7

          Stop it, Goat. It gives me a migraine just thinking about it.

  • Jonathan

    How many years did Darvish have left with his previous team when he was posted? With Tanaka only being two years away from free agency (or one if he doesn’t end up being posted this year because of the posting system negotiations), I wonder how much of an influence his proximity to free agency would affect things, if at all.

    • MightyBear

      I believe he had two years as well. In fact, there were rumors that he was going to challenge the posting system and just try to sign as a free agent and if not then sit out a year or two but he didn’t.

  • MightyBear

    Total change of subject but I saw the Rangers signed an arb eligible guy that they knew would be on the team and came to an agreement. I would like to see the Cubs do that with some of the guys that are probably going to be on the team and are arbitration eligible like Pedro Strop and get that out of the way.

  • Spriggs

    Solar Sox win to advance to AFL championship game on Saturday. They won their last 6 games and needed every one of them to hang on to their half game lead (they had a tie game on the first game of the season).

    Pretty sure the game will be televised (1:00 AZ time), and pretty sure Almora is out.

    • King Jeff

      Game will be on MLB network, cool that Mesa made it.

  • MightyBear

    If the Cubs don’t re-sign Scott Baker, they should look at re-signing Ted Lilly. Lilly seems to be healthy and is pitching some innings in winter ball. If he looks good, that could be a nice, cheap bounce back option for the Cubs. The low risk, high upside deals that this FO seems to love.

    • Professor Snarks

      I wonder what he has left at 38 years old? He was one of Hendry’s best moves, though. Solid pitcher, better guy. Didn’t he get us Blake DeWitt? His legacy in Chicago is complete.

    • Mrs. Howell

      Wondered what happened to Ted Lilly. I like the idea.

  • Voice of Reason

    Lilly would be a solid sign for the cubs. if he’s pitching well at the break, a veteran like him would bring a prospect in return.

    A prospect here…. a prospect there…. here a prospect, there a prospect… everywhere a prospect….

    • DarthHater

      Old MacDonald had a farm system…

      • Jason Powers

        E i e i oooo! B i n g o bingo b i n g o and bingo was his name o!

  • AdamAE24

    I don’t understand why there isn’t just a posting fee set by the MLB that each team has to pay in order to negotiate. Say its an $8 million dollar fee. If 10 teams pay it to negotiate then thats a collective $80 million and it doesn’t hurt the players ability to negotiate much.

  • papabear

    If they just make the posting fee go against the cap – Then the smaller teams get paid or it brings down the cost of the players.

  • CUBS WIN

    What about a lottery type posting system! Any team wishing to be in the lottery will purchase a single ticket for $5M and may purchase up to three tickets ($15M). All money is automatically used as the “Posting Fee” for the winning club. There should be no issue with too low of a posting fee! There could be a second team who gets a chance to negotiate with said player if the first team fails to complete a contract within X-amount of time. Second teams name is not determined until first team fails to sign the player (also prevents player from saying no to first team in favor of the second team).

    • MightyBear

      I like this idea.

    • Patrick W.

      Add in that there unless X tickets are sold, the winning team has to pony up Y $’s (Y=cost of X tickets escalating by the cost of 1 ticket every year until you reach the cost of 30 tickets, or one ticket for every major league club) and I LOVE it.

      • Patrick W.

        there that not that there. My Russian isn’t that good.

    • MichiganGoat

      Hell just do an NBA like lottery where the bottom X teams get one free ticket.

  • anonymous-ly

    If Prior never gets injured and we build our pitching staff from the farm. All Hendry rotation.

    1 Prior
    2 Chris Archer
    3 Andrew Cashner
    4 Jeff Samardzia
    5 Ricky Nolasco

    Not a bad rotation!

    • Voice of Reason

      And if the queen had balls she would be king

      • hansman

        Not if she wanted to be the queen. It is the 21st century afterall.

        • kscubfan

          Couldn’t she do both, surgery can fix anything

  • Murky Waters

    Yup, this could of easy been the worst collection of comments I’ve read on here since the Tony Campana days . Congrats to all who participated

    • MichiganGoat

      Somebody doesn’t like Mother Russia

    • ssckelley

      We work hard at it

      Thanks!

      • kscubfan

        Hard work and Russian beer makes for good conversation

        • MichiganGoat

          Old Rasputin sounds delicious right now

          • mjhurdle

            [img]http://s23.postimg.org/z4hlp3pjv/rasputin_o_572399.jpg[/img]

          • hansman

            You un-American commie.

          • kscubfan

            It was very good, just hope the am is as good.

          • Diesel

            That’s the girlfriend’s favorite beer. She would be proud that there are Cubs fans drinking it.

    • Tony_S

      Wow. Just, wow.

      [expletive removed] you and the horse you rode in on.

      Your input wasn’t friendly or constructive. And unless “Murky Waters” is Siberian for “Brett,” nobody seems to care what your opinion is.

      And for ____ sake! It’s *have*, could HAVE…

      YOUR RUSSIAN SUCKS!!!!

      • Murky Waters

        Don’t talk about my horse like that

  • Die hard

    Latest is Nolasco to get what is referred to as Jackson type money– does this mean Cubs overpaid? Doesn’t sound flattering

  • Voice of Reason

    According to Brett from this site, Jackson performed to a grade level of a “b”.

    So the cubs didn’t overpay for Jackson!!

    • MichiganGoat

      When did Brett start rating players with a letter grade?

      • hansman

        Brett said that Jackson’s performance was a B but his results were a C.

        Leave it up to jackasses to be buffoons.

        • MichiganGoat

          I missed that I guess I can’t remember Brett grading players.

          • hansman

            Meh, it was a throw-away bit.

            If I weren’t buzzed off Natty Ice, I’d look it up.

            Eh, who am I kidding, I’m too lazy anyway.

            • MichiganGoat

              I tried search for it but gave up to have another IPA

  • http://BN Sacko

    Canos name coming up anywhere will be interesting and for the Dumb and Dumber a 1% chance we get Cano means ‘so we really have a chance’? Since he won’t the interest is more since very few predicted the Pujols landing.
    I’m for getting Tanaka which means to me are we finally getting serious about Now!?

  • Brian Peters

    Just saw a brief interview of almora via bleacher report. I really like that kid. He’s got great make up.

  • beerhelps

    Yakov Smirnoff came to Bleacher Nation and said, “What a comment section!”

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