Report: The Rakuten Golden Eagles May Not Post Masahiro Tanaka

While Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball appear to be closing in on an agreement on a new posting system, the new rules may lead to Masahiro Tanaka not being posted this winter.

The two leagues have reportedly agreed on a new posting system that would cap the posting fees at $20 million. Under the agreement, the Japanese team would set the bid price for the player, up to $20 million, and any Major League club that meets the bid would have negotiating rights with the player.

Yozo Tachibana, the president of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, told a Japanese newspaper on Thursday the team might not make Masahiro Tanaka available to Major League teams this winter. In other words, they may not post him.

According to a report from Jerry Crasnick, Tachibana told the newspaper,, “We have an obligation to explain to our stakeholders whether it’s fair [the new posting system].” Tachibana added that if the stakeholders “do not think the proposed rules” are fair then there would be a possibility that Tanaka would not be posted.


The Golden Eagles were the only one of the 12 Japanese teams that did not agree with and approve the new posting system.

MLB, the MLB player’s association and the NPB are looking for a resolution soon with the new posting system and for the Eagles to decide whether or not to post Masahiro Tanaka.

Baseball America’s Ben Badler reported on Thursday that his sources have indicated Tanaka will be posted this winter.

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  • Tony_Hall

    Here is what I don’t get. If the team can set the price, why have a limit? Why not let the team decide how much to ask for a posting fee, MLB teams say yes or no and if the team overshot the ask, and no team says yes, then they lose out on posting the player that off-season.

    • SirGladiator

      I assume it’s the same reason why they set the limit in the first place. If they set an insanely high price, the huge money teams can match it and the smaller money teams can’t. 20m is still a very meaningful amount of money, but it’s an amount any team can pay if they want to. The MLB scored HUGE in this deal, their original offer was simply to average the top 2 bids, in an effort to save a little money. So maybe Tanaka would’ve gone for 75 million instead of 80 or whatever. Now because the Japanese group took too long to accept the offer, they’re forced to accept only getting a maximum of 20 million. I’m guessing they’re wishing they’d accepted that first offer in time :) . So Tanaka’s team is now whining because they just lost probably over 50m, but of course they’ll still post him because they’d rather have 20m than nothing. This deal enables us to pay the smaller posting fee, and give Tanaka a big, long term contract. We’re HUGE winners in this deal, we’re definitely the leading contenders now to get this Ace.

      • Dorasaga

        I agree. FYI: Tanaka will become a free agent in Japan now, if Rakuten Eagles formerly announced to deny the player from his request to be posted.

        Free agency are 7 years for the players since drafted from high school, and 6 for college and shakai-jin (corporate- / independent teams). International FA stays 9 years. There are no minor leagues to “hide” a player in the system.

        This is the year to post him. Rakuten either makes some free money, or overpay Tanaka tremendously, in order to keep him from signing with richer Japanese teams like the Yomiuri Giants or Softbank Hawks.

        This is not a zero-sum game, so the club weighs in how much will they lose, or gain, by keeping Tanaka either with the team for their existing market, or posted to earn some cash flow.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    So…possibly no Tanaka for Cubs, or anyone else.

    27 yr old Phil Hughes is now off the board after signing with the Twins. If Theo/Cubs really liked Hughes, they could have gotten a guy in what Theo considers “prime” years, under control, for apparently about 8m/yr for 3 years.

    I don’t think he would have lit the world on fire, but when you compare Hughes at 27 for $8m vs the contract for Ejax….hmmm. Who knows if they made an offer, but I would like to think Hughes would have chosen the Cubs over MN if the offers were equal.

    Unless he is sick of the big city spotlight…

    • John_CC

      I guess they didn’t really like him.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Where are all of the complaints from bullstexican?

    • cubtex

      Not much in Hoosierland? Heh?