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We could soon get some clarity on the Masahiro Tanaka situation

Dec 9, 2013, 11:27 PM EDT

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We have seen some conflicting reports in recent days about whether the Rakuten Golden Eagles will post much-hyped right-hander Masahiro Tanaka this winter, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports brings word on why there could finally be some clarity on the situation this week:

The will-he-or-won’t-he question may find resolution in the next couple of days. Sources told Yahoo Sports that Yozo Tachibana, president of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, plans to arrive at the winter meetings here on Tuesday. His appearance may lend clarity to Rakuten’s plan of whether to accept a $20 million posting fee for the right-hander’s transfer to an MLB team this offseason or reject it and rob the pitching market of its jewel.

There was no limit on what MLB teams could bid under the old posting system with Nippon Professional Baseball, but the new system will reportedly cap bids at $20 million. Rakuten obviously isn’t happy about that change, as they stood to make considerably more under the old system, so word is that they could keep Tanaka in Japan. Passan brings up the possibility of Tanaka making an under-the-table teal with Rakuten in order to come to get their blessing to come to MLB, but that’s just speculation for now.

If Rakuten ultimately posts Tanaka, all teams who bid the $20 million max will be able to negotiate for his services. Passan polled executives today and found that they anticipate him potentially landing a six-year deal in the range of $100 million.

Once there’s some resolution on Tanaka’s future, we should finally see some movement with top-tier free agent starting pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana.

  1. bobulated - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    While 20 million is not as good as 60 million, it’s certainly better than no millions and an annoyed player who thought he would be elsewhere making much more; they’ll come around.

  2. cackalackyank - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    My understanding is Rakuten can keep him for two years and then Tanaka can do whatever and Rakuten can wind up with nothing. That should be motivation to let him go now. Also, it would seem that the other NPB owners would not be thrilled if Rakuten undermines the agreement that was just reached with MLB. Even though Rakuten does not like this, they would “lose face” overall by keeping Tanaka off the MLB market.

  3. anxovies - Dec 10, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    I have kind of been following the negotiations between MLB and NPB but I am unclear on the bargaining positions of the parties. What leverage does MLB have in the negotiations? It seems that as long as the Japanese team has the player under contract for 9 years they could make any deal they want with a MLB team to release the player during the period of the contract. Where is the incentive to enter into an agreement that limits what they can demand? I guess MLB could enact a rule that the posting fee counts against the salary cap or something like that. That would put a chill on the signings since MLB teams would be unwilling to pay large posting fees.

  4. spc7ray - Dec 10, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Im still not sure he is worth that–He would take about 125 million for 5 years–Not 100 for 6 years–100 might be ok but 125 would be too much and the Yankees and Mainers will both pay that–everyone else except The Dodgers-maybe- are out of this

  5. rje49 - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Lisa, I told you before, just keep all the money for yourself! Why share it with us?

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