MLB's Small-Market Teams Propose Altering Japanese Player Posting System
A last-minute dispute “placed the new posting system for Japanese players in jeopardy” as small-market teams in MLB “tried to put into effect a rule that would inhibit big-market teams, particularly the Yankees, from spending large sums on prospective Japanese stars," according to David Waldstein of the N.Y. TIMES. A new deal is “still expected to emerge in time for teams to make posting offers" on players, including P Masahiro Tanaka, this offseason. If it does not, Japanese teams “could allow their players to negotiate with specific teams they choose and then receive some kind of compensation from the major league team, perhaps in the form of a joint cooperation agreement.” Sources said that Pirates President Frank Coonelly this week at the GM meetings in Orlando “proposed that the posting fee, which can exceed $50 million for a top player, should count against the bidding team’s luxury-tax figure.” Waldstein noted the proposal “seemed to be aimed directly at the Yankees, who are planning to bid for Tanaka but are also concerned about staying under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold.” Yankees President Randy Levine “objected to Coonelly’s proposal and asked rhetorically if other rules for international player procurement -- like the way Cuban stars have been signed -- should be changed midstream as well” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/15).
CRASH COURSE: ESPN.com’s Buster Olney cited a source as saying when GM raised the topic of whether the rules associated with catcher collisions needed to be changed, the sentiment "was 100 percent.” Sources said that nobody “bothered arguing for the status quo.” Olney wrote MLB now will “race against the clock in order to make the changes for 2014, and there is much work to be done,” as the new rules “must be determined.” MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Joe Torre told GMs that he will “reach out to Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny -- both former big league catchers -- who have both been vocal in their call for a rule change, to help redefine what can or should not happen on plays at the plate.” A source said that it “might not come together quickly enough for a change in 2014.” Another source said that because MLB has “acknowledged the need for change, and the unwanted risk to players on plays at the plate, the potential liability for the sport has risen if the current rules remained in place for next season” (ESPN.com, 11/14).
A MATTER OF TIME: SPORTSNET.ca’s Shi Davidi noted MLB Commissioner Bud Selig “gathered owners, general managers and others the past couple of days and asked them to start finding ways to pick up the pace of games.” Selig said, “I told them we need to be creative in addressing these issues. The length of games all year but particularly in the playoffs and the World Series I didn’t like and was unhappy. I know we’ve moved into a new generation, but there are things we can do and there are things we will do” (SPORTSNET.ca, 11/14).
FOREIGN AFFAIRS: FOXSPORTS.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported seven active MLBers will represent the league "abroad this offseason as ambassadors and instructors." Free agents Curtis Granderson, Chris Dickerson and Roger Bernadina will "visit the Netherlands and France beginning this weekend," while Royals P Jeremy Guthrie is "traveling to three cities in China next month." Pirates P Mark Melancon is "scheduled to serve as a special guest instructor at the South African Elite Camp in December," while free agent LaTroy Hawkins and Indians C Yan Gomes will go to Brazil. Gomes is the "first Brazilian-born player to reach the majors," and he will appear at "events and clinics in his native Sao Paulo." Hawkins: "Just looking at the rosters of the teams today, you can tell MLB is doing a great job outside the U.S. A lot of guys from all over the world are playing the game, and now we’re trying to get even more" (FOXSPORTS.com, 11/14).