SBD/December 17, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

New MLB Posting Deal Caps Fee At $20M, Could Pave Way For Japanese Pitcher Tanaka

Tanaka says he wants to test the MLB waters if his team will allow
A new three-year posting agreement between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball was completed yesterday when the exec committees of both leagues "ratified the deal, perhaps paving the way" for Japanese Pacific League Rakuten Eagles P Masahiro Tanaka "to finally be posted," according to David Waldstein of the N.Y. TIMES. The new agreement "caps an MLB team's posting fee to a Japanese team" at $20M. But whether Tanaka's team will "post the pitcher remains unknown." Rakuten "vehemently opposes the new system because it caps the posting fee." Under the new rules, Japanese teams notify MLB of their "intent to post the player and assign a 'release fee,' which cannot exceed" $20M. Any team that is "willing to pay the release fee is entitled to negotiate directly with the player during a 30-day window." There is "no penalty for making a bid and then failing to sign the player." The agreement "was favored by MLB's smaller-market teams and by the Japanese players union" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/17). Tanaka today said, "I informed my team that I would like them to allow me to test my abilities in Major League Baseball next season." Rakuten President Yozo Tachibana said that the team was "trying to persuade its star pitcher to stay with the team for 2014." Tachibana: "We told him he is very important to us and we'd like him to stay" (AP, 12/17).
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