Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball Close to Agreement on Posting System

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are close to an agreement on a new posting system according to multiple reports. The new system would cap the posting fee required to negotiate a contract with a Japanese player to $20 million.

Under the old system, teams would submit blind bids to win the exclusive negotiating rights. The team that placed the highest bid had 30 days to sign the player then would pay the posting fee, in full, to the player’s team in Japan. Over the years the posting fees became exceedingly expensive and kept small market teams from participating in the process.

After negotiations broke down in November between MLB and NPB due to complaints from small market teams that the posting fee did not count against the luxury tax and gave teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers an unfair advantage in the process, the two leagues met in New York last week to try to finalize the new posting system.

Under the new system, that is expected to be approved and announced soon, interested teams could not bid more than $20 million for the right to negotiate a contract with a player. If more than one team places the maximum bid of $20 million, each team would be able to negotiate a deal with the player. And only the team that signs the player would have to pay the $20 million posting fee.

So basically under the new system, the player would be a free agent tied to a $20 million fee instead of a draft pick and the slot money.

Not all of the teams in Japan and in Major League Baseball are on board with the new posting system according to a report from Jeff Passan. One team’s official told Passan he is worried the new system might backfire by the player’s team in Japan not posting him and choosing to hold onto the player and let him play out the nine-year reserve period Japanese players face before free agency.


Passan reported, “The expectation is that Japanese teams will respect the decision of the players who want to compete in MLB and accept the $20 million figure accordingly.”

The only Japanese team that did not approve the new system was the Rakuten Golden Eagles and they are not thought to be on board with the plan. Masahiro Tanaka plays for the Eagles and if they decide not to post him, he will remain in Japan and not be able to sign with a Major League team for two more years.

Peter Gammons reported that the Eagles are leaning against posting Masahiro Tanaka. But according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, while “Rakuten is obviously opposed to a cap on posting fees, but the expectation is they will still post Masahiro Tanaka.”

Talks between MLB and NPB are expected to resume on Thursday via a conference call. The Tribune reported an agreement on a new posting system could possibly be reached within two weeks.

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  • Dorasaga

    As a side not, that Ben report on B.A. is full of grammatical errors. They made me think twice, whether or not the T be posted–Not that I’ll sweat over a “smart market” decision, as the Cubs could decide to pass on this legendary T and grab a Caribbean amateur. Elite pitchers have always been rare. It’s been equally rare to have rich teams. It’s also rare for them to agree on anything with their junior peers.

  • GaryLeeT

    I read an earlier proposal that had the team with a max bis, and with the worst record, would get the first crack at signing him. If that were true, then the Cubs would have a shot, but if all the teams with max bids are just put back into a pool, then the Cubs are back to a near zero chance of signing Tanaka.

  • 07GreyDigger

    I’m kind of confused why NPB agreed to this at all. Now the MLB can poach their players left and right. There’s something here we’re not learning. Maybe MLB is giving them money on the side?

    • John_CC

      I agree. Except the NPB team still has to “post” the player, so MLB teams can really just swoop in and grab players. But there is something we aren’t hearing.

      • DWalker

        you mean “can’t really just swoop in and grab players”. The choice of the teams to allow a posting is a major sticking factor.

        • John_CC

          Yes that is what I mean.

          I will correct that and make note.

          Thanks!

  • John_CC

    I am confused to. This system seems to only make sense for the player’s union.

    While it takes the rights to negotiate away from just the richest teams, which is good, it seems to go way too far by making every team a possibility.

    The NPB losses enormous sums of money, Dice-K posting was $50M and I don’t even remember what Texas paid for Gyro (as in ball, not the Greek lamb pita).

    There must be some detail that haven’t been leaked yet. It just doesn’t make sense.

    • DWalker

      I may be totaly wrong, but I suspect that the NPB teams are looking at it and thinking that soon players will just be skipping the NPB and going straight into the MLB system. The only hold if IIRC is that if they don’t follow NPB rules is they get banned for a few years, years which they might be in the MLB/MiLB system with a potentially much bigger payout. NPB REALLY doesn’t want MLB to start skimming off the top talent without it ever being in the NPB. Once in the system though, the NPB teams have some control on when they allow a player to post, but the Golden eagles need to be very careful as if they deny Tanaka a chance to cash in, they risk loosing the chance to sign other major talent. Its a tough spot for NPB teams as they have a a lot to loose in talent both coming in and going out.

      • John_CC

        Yes but..MLB has already proven that there are at least a few teams willing to throw stupid amounts of money to posting fees. I don’t get it.

      • daverj

        I think you nailed it with the comment that NPB fears players will skip NPB all together and just sign with MLB. I’m guessing that MLB has agreed it will not actively pursue Japanese players prior to them signing NPB.

        I like the idea that all teams will get a basically equal shot at the posted players. The top Japanese players will now essentially be free agents once posted.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Brewer dealt Aoki for Wil Smith today. That means they are light in RF.

    • cubtex

      they are moving Braun to RF and they have a prospect that will be playing LF. I believe his name is Smith or something like that.

      • TheWrongGuy

        Aoki to Royals is good news and bad news for Cubs. He OWNED the Cubs when played against him.
        Bad news is Kris Johnson/Chris Gomez/Ryan Braun are now the Brewers outfield they also owned Cubs pitching.

  • Rational Logic

    So basically every player posted will pay NPB $20M. I wonder how that figure was derived. It doesn’t seem very fair because once the fee is posted, the team with the largest payroll will still be able to offer the highest contract.

    Big market teams, by threat alone, will force other teams to submit near $20M for every decent player to get a seat at the table.

    Still doesn’t seem appropriate. Players should be able to negotiate with any team, and NPB should receive a (minimum) commission as a percentage of the total deal. That would appropriately align the fee paid with the perceived “value” of the player.

    Curious for your opinions on that…

    • Tony_Hall

      Not all players will have teams posting $20M, only the best. The rest will still be a normal top bid wins. With the elite players who teams tie at $20M it will be like FA, but it is not like the Yankees sign every top FA every year. This allows the player a say in where they go.

      • Tony_Hall

        It looks like the NPB team will set their asking bid price, so we could see lots of ties, even on lesser players. Unless teams are able to overbid the asking bid.

        • Rational Logic

          Right, but if a team thinks a player is worth a $15M bid, they’ll be forced to bid $20M due to the threat of bigger market teams throwing in the $20 bc the difference is a meaningless amount.

          This is looking at it from a practical standpoint

          • John_CC

            Always so practical, rational! I love it.

          • Rational Logic

            Thanks! I think it makes sense though – if you were insistent on a player but would previously post only $15M for him, now you have to post $20M due to the fact that there’s a good chance at least one other team will post the $20M…the risk is only realized if you in fact are chosen and have to pay the sum + contract, however, if players chase money, as I said earlier, the team with the deepest pockets still wins…game theory!

          • Tony_Hall

            Maybe you missed this part of what I posted, the NPB team will be setting the price. There will be no overbidding, as if the team says $15M, then that is the price, you either say yes or no.

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  • Tony_Hall

    I have been looking for the actual days in a MLB season. Here is what I found.

    “A year of service time is equal to 172 days, and there are normally around 183 total days in the major league calendar.”

    http://www.fangraphs.com/library/principles/contract-details/service-time-super-two/

    http://www.bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=662:service-time-st&catid=44:business-of-baseball-glossary&Itemid=75