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The Rakuten Golden Eagles are trying to convince Masahiro Tanaka to stay in Japan

Dec 16, 2013, 9:58 AM EDT

Masahiro Tanaka wants to play in the United States. To do that, his team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, have to agree to post him. Under the new posting rules agreed to by MLB and NPB, Rakuten stands to get $20 million, which is way less than posting teams used to get. And they’d lose their best player and top draw in the deal.

In light of that, this is not terribly surprising:


The nuance to all of this, of course, is that Tanaka has asked to be posted and that, while Rakuten is not under any obligation to honor is wishes, NPB teams try to honor such wishes when possible for general goodwill purposes. They’d love to have agreement with Tanaka if they can. But they’d also like to keep his services given that losing him will get them only $20 million.

  1. NatsLady - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Do they have an arbitration system in the NPB? How much will Tanaka be paid this season?

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      He made around US$4 million this year.

  2. mikhelb - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Tanaka COULD leave the NPB and see if an MLB team will sign him as an international free agent, he’d be banned from NPB, there could be serious consequences in the MLB-NPB relationship specially now that owners of NPB teams feel that MLB forced them to sign the agreement (otherwise MLB would just simply end other working agreements with them)… and that with Tanaka being just 25 years old, his signing bonus would count in a team’s allocated money to sign international free agents under the age of 26.

    Sure, he’d make an statement by moving to a league where he wants to play, and would show that he’ll do it for the challenge more than for the money, but since he already gets almost 5 million dollars per season in NPB, it is highly unlikely he’d sacrifice that amount for 1/3 of that with an MLB team signing that way. The only way his signing bonus and contract doesn’t count against the allocated amount of a team for international signings is to be posted.

    • jballallen - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      I think something like that will happen at some point, but Tanaka has a personal-service contract with Rakuten through 2015, so that is more problematic.

  3. nymets4ever - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    I’ll say what’s on everyone’s mind. Hey Tanaka/Golden Eagles/MLB, make a decision already and just go with it one way or the other. Everyone’s sick of the endless reports on this topic, stop trying to make the entire offseason about you. You’re not that special anyway…lol

    • stex52 - Dec 16, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      I’m going to make the guess that he doesn’t care what your opinion is.

      • gloccamorra - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:01 PM

        It’s worse than that. He probably doesn’t even know nymets4ever even exists!

  4. uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Not sure if Tanaka will command the same amount of dollars if he were to be posted for the 2015 season. Sure Rakutan will get the same $20MM dollars but at least at this point a lot more quality starting pitchers are scheduled to hit free agency. It could effect Tanaka’s asking price, plus there is always the change of something unforeseen happening, an injury a sub-par performance by Tanaka in 2014 in Japan. If he’s smart and I would think he is he doesn’t waver in his demand to be posted NOW.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      correction: “chance” of something unforeseen….

  5. jballallen - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    The new posting system is likely to

    1) make it easier for most quality Japanese players to reach contracts in one go — unlike what happened with Hisashi Iwakuma and Hiroyuki Nakajima.


    2) decrease the availability of the most sought-after talent, since MLB is essentially levying a tax on the sale of their best players so that it can appease small-market clubs by including more of the money spent on big imports against the luxury tax. It won’t make those players more available to small clubs, because bidding will keep the prices more or less where the market sets them.

    It won’t necessarily make big imports cheaper.

    Tanaka may end up costing more now than under the previous system — because now there may be four teams in an open bidding war.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Sorry I just don’t see that at least not in Tanaka’s case. The estimates were under the old system it was going to take a $60 to $75MM bid at least plus about $60 to $70MM to sign him. That’s anywhere from an $120 to $145MM commitment from a MLB team. Under the new system $20MM posting fee.I can’t imagine any team, although I could be wrong, making an additional $110 to $150MM plus commitment for 6 years just to get his signature on a contract for an unproven commodity at the MLB level. Especially now when the AAV of that entire $110 to $150MM will be charged to a teams luxury tax calculation. Small market teams still can’t afford the dollars and larger market teams I would think would definitely think hard and long before going that high if it brings them close to or at the luxury tax number.

  6. baldeagle22 - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Hopefully the Phillies are in line, as they otherwise have no shot of improving with their current roster.

    The GM is atrocious, but he’s really good at outspending others!

  7. aphillieated - Dec 16, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Come to America

  8. braddavery - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    No WAY he risks his huge MLB payday with another season in Japan. The season he had this year is the very reason he will make 10-20 million a year here. He won’t risk losing any of that by playing another season in Japan while risking bad performance and/or injury for 5 million for one year. No way. He will be in MLB in 2014. Mark my words.

    • gloccamorra - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      I don’t know – his last four years are good enough to make MLB teams’ eyes water. It may not be that much of a risk, since his whole career demonstrates his mastery of the Japan league. Another, fifth season of under 2.00 ERA will make him look even better.

      • braddavery - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        I can’t agree. He reached the pinnacle there and there is no where to go for him but down in that league. He was undefeated and his team won their Championship for crying out loud. I simply don’t believe that taking 5+ million for next season, or even 10 million, is worth the risk of bad performance or injury in 2014 when he can simply decline Rakuten’s request for him to stay and make nearly 100 million guaranteed here in the States in about a month’s time.

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