Monday, December 16, 2013

Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional Baseball league have officially announced an agreement on a new posting system that will allow Japanese players be posted by their clubs, letting them come play baseball in The States.

The two sides have been at the table chipping away at the terms of a new deal for most of the offseason, and now that they have a deal in place, the bidding war for top Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka can begin.

Here are the guid rules for the new system as laid out in the official press release:
If an NPB Club wishes to make one of its players available to Major League Clubs, the NPB shall notify the Office of the Commissioner of the NPB player's potential availability and the "release fee" that a Major League Club must pay to the NPB Club in order to secure the NPB player's release. The NPB Club may not set the release fee at an amount higher than $20 million and the fee cannot be changed once it has been set by the NPB Club.

* The Office of the Commissioner shall then "post" the NPB player's availability by notifying all Major League Clubs of the NPB player's availability and the release fee sought by the NPB Club.
* All "postings" of NPB players must be made between November 1st and February 1st. 
* Beginning the day after the player is posted, and concluding 30 days later, any Major League club willing to pay the release fee set by the NPB Club may then negotiate with the player in an attempt to reach an agreement on a contract. 
* If a Major League Club is able to reach an agreement on a contract with the posted NPB player, the Major League Club must pay the NPB Club the designated release fee, which will occur in installments, the timing of which depends on the size of the release fee.

* If the posted NPB player fails to reach an agreement with a Major League Club, the release fee is not owed, the NPB player remains under reserve to his NPB Club, and the player may not be posted again until the following November 1.
* The term of the new posting agreement is three years, continuing from year-to-year thereafter until either the Office of the Commissioner or the NPB gives notice of its intent to terminate the agreement one hundred and eighty days prior to the anniversary of the commencement of the agreement. 
MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said: "We are pleased to have amicably reached an agreement that addresses various issues raised by all parties. Major League Baseball values its longstanding professional relationship with Nippon Professional Baseball, and we look forward to continuing the growth of the great game we share in the years to come."
So none of the rules comes as much of a surprise. The release fee will be $20 million, and once the player is posted, all the teams that post the $20 million fee will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with the player.

Because of the small $20 million fee, compared to the old system in which teams took part in a blind bidding, more teams will have the chance to bid for Tanaka's services. The Yankees have been setting up to throw everything they have at Tanaka. He's their number one target, and with the need for another starting pitcher still there, I don't see why they wouldn't still be all-in on him.

There has been some confusion lately as to whether his Japanese club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, would even post him with $20 million being the return, compared to the $60 million, or more, that he was expected to generate. Reports Monday said that his owner would try to have him pitch on Japan at least one more year, while it's now been stated that Tanaka will be posted.


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