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Japanese baseball officials will try to resolve posting issue in New York

Nov 24, 2013, 9:05 PM EDT

Masahiro Tanaka AP AP

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that top Japanese baseball officials will attempt to finalize a new posting system in New York this week, which will impact free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, the most sought-after prize from the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

More, from Heyman:

There is renewed hope for a posting agreement after deals fell though in late October and again about 10 days ago, though there is no guarantee a deal will be struck. Representatives from the 12 teams of the Nippon Baseball League reportedly re-started their own meetings last Monday, according to the Japan Times.

It was also reported that the Japanese officials were moving back toward a deal similar to the previous one whereby interested teams place blind bids. The team with the highest bid is then awarded an exclusive negotiating window with the player.

It is suggested that a winning posting bid could reach as high as $75 million, which would exceed the $51.7 million posted by the Rangers for Yu Darvish prior to the 2012 season.

  1. lazlosother - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    I think they should post him on ebay. A two week auction with a reserve. I would bid myself, just for the hell of it. $40.00, because I live large.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 25, 2013 at 8:21 AM

      Will their be a buyout option? My organ…er I mean I have a friend who wants to know.

      -Hal Steinbrenner

  2. evanpenn - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    I think the posting thing is screwy. Why should the Japanese team get anything? Are these players slaves? Why aren’t they free to go where they want for as much money as they can get? What did we get in return for agreeing to this BS?

    • dan1111 - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:40 AM

      Maintaining goodwill with the NPB and supporting the popularity of baseball in Japan are important to MLB in the big picture. Both of these would be seriously harmed if we just siphoned off all of their good players. That is the logic of developing a joint system, rather than just trying to sign Japanese players by any means possible.

      Also, the posted players are still under contract, so just walking away would be problematic for them.

      That said, I don’t think the system is very good. The player has no real negotiating power for salary. Also, technically there is nothing to stop a team from making a really high posting bid just to stop other teams from getting a player. And I imagine that the possibility of a player being posted skews contract negotiations in Japan, too (though I’m not familiar with their system).

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 25, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      The NPB controls the players’ rights like how an individual team controls a player for 6 years. IIRC it’s 10 years in the NPB before the player officially becomes a FA and can sign anywhere, which is why players like Hiroki Kuroda are so much older when they come over via a FA. After something like 5 or 6 years (not sure tbh) the player can be posted which is where we are with Tanaka.

  3. evanpenn - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    Dan, I don’t like it, same as you.

    I think the same players are leaving the Japanese league that would have left anyway, so aren’t we siphoning off their good players, regardless? Not sure how this system helps to stem that. Also, I don’t know how this system supports the popularity of baseball in Japan. The Japanese teams are getting money for the players leaving, how does that make baseball more popular there? It should make baseball less popular, as the Japanese teams are colluding, instead of fighting the talent drain. I do agree that this system should theoretically make American baseball more popular in Japan…theoretically.

    General goodwill has a value, but not at these prices, especially when the form and shape of that goodwill is not very well defined.

    (On the topic of “a team making a really high posting bid just to stop other teams from getting a player.”
    I don’t think this is true, as the team has to pay the posting bid regardless of whether they sign the player or not. So if they overpay they are only hurting themselves. )

    • dan1111 - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:21 AM

      Previously, players like Nomo just chose to “retire” to get out of their contract, then signed in America. There was nothing to stop the best players from leaving at any time, which would have wreaked havoc on team development in Japan had it continued.

      Under the posting system, a team must choose to post a player that is under contract, so it does reduce the number of players that leave. It allows Japanese teams to maintain contractual control over their players.

      Further, giving teams compensation certainly helps the health of baseball in Japan. It transfers money from the very rich MLB to the financially struggling NPB.

      It is not true that a team has to pay a posting fee even if they don’t successfully negotiate a contract with the player. This was a controversy with Matsuzaka, as some observers thought the Red Sox bid high just to stop the Yankees from getting him. See wikipedia for more info on how it works:

      I dislike the form of the current posting system, for the reasons I stated above. But I think something like this does need to exist.

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