masahiro tanakaFor the better part of a week and a half, despite hemming and hawing from the Rakuten Golden Eagles, the team that controls the rights to 25-year-old Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka, I have maintained that I expect Tanaka will be posted this offseason. The MLB/NPB posting agreement is set to be put in place on Monday, and I expect Tanaka will be made available shortly thereafter, despite the now capped bidding process, which will net Rakuten just $20 million for the rights to Tanaka, rather than the $70+ million they were expecting.

Adding to my confidence? A bizarre, and somewhat hilarious report from Buster Olney:

While you could read that as the other NPB teams simply trying to do what’s in the overall best interests of the league and its financial future, I choose to read it as, “We will pay you to get your best player out of the league.”

Imagine the Pirates and Cardinals chipping in to get Joey Votto sent overseas. Hell, I might pay a dollar or two, myself.

The broader, more important point here: clearly there is a lot of pressure on Rakuten to sign off on the new posting arrangement, and show their support by posting Masahiro Tanaka. For all their talk about $20 million not being a “fair trade” for Tanaka’s rights, they’re still looking at the possibility of keeping him, having a very pissed-off pitcher for 12 months (Tanaka reportedly wants to be posted), then trying to post him next offseason, and have him maybe say, “No thanks. I’ll just wait until next year when I’m a free agent and can sign for more.”

Maybe that’s a risk Rakuten is willing to take. Maybe Tanaka’s value to them is worth much more than $20 million, plus his unhappiness, plus the scorn of the rest of the league. I honestly don’t know.

But when I put it all together in my head, the logical outcome here is that Tanaka will be posted. I still expect the Cubs to be heavily involved once he is.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Crap: why weren’t NL teams contributed to posting fees for Maddux, Glavine & Smoltz in the 1990’s?!?!?

    • Fishin Phil

      I think they would have if they could have.

    • hansman

      I wonder if we could just post the entire Cardinals organization to NPB. I’d pay a few bucks.

      • Fishin Phil

        I’d throw in an extra $20 if they take McCarver with them.

      • C. Steadman

        we just need to find their magical potion for hitting while there’s RISP 😀

      • ssckelley

        lol, you beat me to it….to heck with posting individual players, let’s post an entire team.

        • Cheese Chad

          The problem is it doesn’t matter the names of the Cardinal players; once you put on the uniform……”MAGIC Magic magic ….gic” (cue the glitter).

          • dumbledoresacubsfan

            I agree. I stand by my thoughts that there’s actually a giant vat of red goop underneath St. Louis that every player is dunked in upon arrival that makes them ridiculously good at baseball.

      • scorecardpaul

        count me in for a few hundred bucks

  • C. Steadman

    thats a very funny tweet from Buster…other teams paying to get Tanaka outta Japan

  • Rebuilding

    I said this two weeks ago, but it has nothing to do with getting the best player out of the league. It has everything to do with MLB maintaining their hands off policy towards Japanese amateurs. The last thing NPB wants are the MLB clubs coming in and signing those guys because the league would be over. Right now MLB and NPB have a symbiotic relationship where NPB acts as a filter and then posts its best guys. If they stop posting the top end talent all bets are off

    • ssckelley

      That is interesting, have you read this somewhere or is this your opinion? I have always wondered why MLB teams did not send scouts to Japan to sign players before they sign with the Japanese league.

      • Rebuilding

        It’s well known that the MLB does not sign Japanese amateurs due to a gentlemen’s agreement between the two leagues. To my knowledge there has never been a significant Japanese amateur signed by MLB. It helps them both – the Japanese get to keep their amateur players in the NPB for a number of years and MLB doesn’t have to set up 30 scouting operations there nor give out crazy signing bonuses. It’s win/win. The MLB goes for this arrangement because the NPB essentially acts as a filter and saves them money. That’s the reason they could drive the NPB owners down to $20 million cap. But if Tanaka is not posted MLB clubs are likely to start pushing to scrap this whole system and sign these kids when they’re 16/17

        • Rebuilding

          Actually I did find one guy but it was very contentious:

          “While Tazawa attracted attention of American scouts, NPB announced that the major leagues of two nations had a gentlemen’s agreement against signing Japanese amateurs, and general manager Brian Cashman, whose New York Yankees had a partnership agreement with Yomiuri Giants, said his team considered Tazawa hands off.[1] However, Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president for labor and human resources denied that any gentleman’s agreement was in place regarding the signing of Japanese amateur players.”

          • Rebuilding

            And Manfred is lying btw

            • commander bob

              manfred the wonder dog?

  • ssckelley

    How much would we have to pay to send the Cardinals to Japan?

    • FarmerTanColin

      I say we pool money. We should at least get enough to send Yadier over seas.

  • Die hard

    Japan baseball execs likely drinking too much of that radioactive water from failed nuclear plants cause decision irrational unless Tanaka is washed up

    • Hee Seop Chode

      well that was racist.

    • Patrick W.

      Hahahahah 18,000 people died! Hahahaha so funny.

      • DarthHater

        Yes, I have always felt that radiation poisoning is one of the most humorous causes of death and horrific suffering.

        • Patrick W.

          Gets me every time.

  • B_Scwared

    I like to think that the Cubs’ FO is being maddeningly patient and disciplined, rather than simply cheap. That makes me overly optimistic that they will surprise folks and land Tanaka. He fits the plan and I believe the money that they are not throwing at the likes of Choo, will find their way here.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      Tanaka does fit the plan…but only at the right price like everyone else. Hopefully he falls to us, but I still have many doubts.

      • brickhouse

        How will Tanaka fall to the Cubs when many teams have made him their priority ?

        • Rebuilding

          Because the Cubs have more money than every club except 3 (Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox), and it’s very possible 2 of those are out on him.

  • cking25

    Another nice call Brett! We got the Aussie Liam Hendricks

  • Blackhawks1963

    We can dream about Tanaka…we can talk to death about Tanaka…but there is likely a snowball’s chance in hell Tanaka is going to agree to sign with the Cubs. $20 million posting fee is chump change and it doesn’t cost anything for all but one winning major league team to throw their chips into the posting pot. I bet every major league team submits the posting bid…meaning Tanaka is a free agent deluxe. I continue to insist he is predetermined already to be wearing Yankee pinstripes. If not the Yankees then he goes to the Mariners where there is a Japenese owner, a large Japanese-America population, a Japanese language media outlet that beams Mariners games back to Japan and of course a boatload of newly unlocked MONEY.

    • Jon

      I pray every night he’s posted and the Cubs sign him just so you stop posting the same fucking narrative on this blog every day.

      We get it.

      • Blackhawks1963

        I pray every day that you go suck on the exhaust of your car. When my level of posting even begins to approach the prodigious amount of posting you do, then get back to me Professor.

        • Jon

          If I had a choice between that and reading another one of your five sanctimonious posts that you regurgitate on a daily basis, I think I would take the tailpipe.

          • Blackhawks1963

            Now there is a double entendre if ever there was one ! Bet you wish there was an edit button, huh?

          • Brett

            And, Jon, you could also stand for a little reflection. Consider these two comments to you and Blackhawk my gentle nudges.

        • Brett

          That was inappropriate. You’re right there on the line, Blackhawks. Consider the Golden Rule once in a while, eh?

      • Patrick W.

        Man you guys need to start praying for different things.

        • Stinky Pete

          Like Christina Hendricks, for example…

        • hansman

          Pray for world peace or that a Japanese pitcher is posted so someone will change what they type? I see an easy choice there.

  • TSB

    well, so much for civility…

  • Die hard

    If Tanaka worth as much as Shark thinks HE is worth and if Cubs believe Tanaka worth more than Shark thinks Tanaka is worth then Tanaka must believe the Cubs are not worth playing for even pillar to post

    • DarthHater

      Gotta frame this one for posterity…

      • MoneyBoy

        ^5 Darth!!

  • Carne Harris

    It seemed to me that if Tanaka is that good, two years of his service WOULD be worth more than 20 million, but then I did a little research ( ) and it seems that the highest paid players over there (not counting signing bonuses) make about 5.5 million USD a year. So that would make it seem like they will likely post him, though if it can be shown Tanaka accounts for more than 4.5 mill a year in marketing/jersey sales/tv ratings/putting butts in the seat the logical decision would be not to. Definitely a close call.

    If I was them, I wouldn’t. Gamble that you can get a year of Tanaka and still get 20 mill next year, or glory of glories, the posting system reverts and you can pick up that extra 50 mill. Worse comes to worst, you’ll get two years of Tanaka which will be worth close to, or hell more than depending on the marketing financials, the 20 million dollars anyways.