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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