Latest On Masahiro Tanaka Posting Situation

We learned earlier today that MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball have formally agreed upon modifications to the inter-league posting system. Of course, the most immediate ramifications of that agreement relate to whether and when star Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be posted by his current club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The lack of clarity as to his MLB availability seems to have held up the upper-level starting pitching market. Indeed, as MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth explained yesterday, five of the top ten players still free on the open market are starters. 

Here's the latest on Tanaka:

  • Tanaka told reporters that he had expressed his desire to pitch in the majors next season in a meeting with team president Yozo Tachibana, Sanspo reports. (Japanese language link; thanks to MLBTR's Aaron Steen for the translation.) However, the team hasn't made a decision yet, the righty said. "I'd like to show what I can do on a new stage," Tanaka said. "[Rakuten] graciously listened to what I had to say."
  • A final decision on posting Tanaka could come down as soon as tomorrow, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this evening. Tanaka "is expected to learn his fate Tuesday," according to Hernandez, who reported that club officials were scheduled to meet with the 25-year-old hurler. As Hernandez also explained, an earlier report from Sanspo said that Rakuten will, in fact, post Tanaka. But, as Hernandez notes, that report did not provide any quotes from owner Hiroshi Mikitani or other top club officials. And, of course, the more recent report noted above raises further questions as to whether a resolution is imminent.
  • Given the $20MM cap on posting fees provided under the new agreement, a relatively meager sum compared to prior fees paid for top-level arms like Tanaka, it is not unreasonable to consider him a virtual free agent if posted. Indeed, as ESPN's Buster Olney tweets, there is little reason for any team not to throw its hat in the ring since the posting fee is refundable to any club that does not sign him. As Olney explains, that makes for a risk-free chance at signing Tanaka which probably carries some public relations benefits.
  • Given his age and essentially open-market availability, if posted, Tanaka would fit the Cubs' plan of building around young players, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago writes. "We wish there was a free-agent market for young players," team president Theo Epstein said in November. Given Tanaka's situation, just that opportunity could be at hand for Chicago (along with the rest of the league, of course).

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.

 


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169 Comments on "Latest On Masahiro Tanaka Posting Situation"


Yanksfan2010
1 year 8 months ago

Hope they post him, and he joins the Yankees.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

My guess is that for the 3rd time this offseason (Seattle & KC), and the 2nd from time from Seattle … the Yankees will get “Yankeed” yet once again this offseason by the M’s.

Edgar4evar
1 year 8 months ago

The M’s should totally be going hard for Tanaka. They should be in position to offer a very large contract as well as a great landing spot for a Japanese player, and especially a pitcher.

The_Unnatural
1 year 8 months ago

The M’s should be going hard for Tanaka? He’s THAT good?

maqman
1 year 8 months ago

He’s better than THAT.

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

Teams should be carefull what they wish for, sometimes these players don’t turn out to be that good. Dice K , Albert Pujols, a Josh Hamilton come to mind.

markjsunz
1 year 8 months ago

It is very suspect when a player has a monster season signs a big contract and becomes injury prone. roids?

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

Seattle still needs some good hitting to surround Cano like Cruz, but they would have one of the top pitching staffs if they sign Tanaka.

maqman
1 year 8 months ago

The M’s have a pitchers park, pitching should be their strength.

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

Pitching should be everyone’s strength if they want to win, the problem is that pitching is very unpredictable. Just look as the Red Sox the last 2 years.

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

Yip, they got Yankeed signing Beltran, McCann, and Ellisbury. I would have to think that they just didn’t want to over pay for those players like KC and Seattle. I think they made the right move!

James
1 year 8 months ago

FINALLY on the precipice of a RESOLUTION. Mr. Tanaka’s team has been throwing ice water on a significant part of the hot stove proceedings. I think Rakuten honors his wish and every hot stove fan gets the feast of rumors and innuendo that comes with a good ole fashioned bidding war. Just don’t end up in pinstripes please.

InvalidUserID
1 year 8 months ago

Because they’ve gotten the last two Japanese phenoms (Dice-K & Darvish). Oh wait.

Steve Sampson
1 year 8 months ago

Getting Dice-K was a punishment.

dc21892
1 year 8 months ago

Only from year 3 on. Years one and two were okay.

Muhamed Mashkulli
1 year 8 months ago

Free Tanaka!!!

MadmanTX
1 year 8 months ago

Hardly free. $$$

Vmmercan
1 year 8 months ago

How is this a good resolution for anyone except the player? The Japanese teams are now capped and for a player like Tanaka, at a comically low amount. The MLB teams are saving money on the posting fee but now every team in baseball is going to be in a bidding war. It’s money that counts towards payroll and involves multiple years (and probably more of them) instead of just one lump sum. I see it costing MLB more from how large the player’s contract will now be for an unproven commodity and it rips off Japanese teams with the posting fee. Why would either side agree to it for big time players?

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

The owning team is under no obligation to post him. They can simply allow his contract to run out, just as in MLB.

Runtime
1 year 8 months ago

Yes.
But it would make that specific team look bad in the eyes of potential FAs.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

I don’t see why it would, or why the team would care if it did. MLB teams hang onto controlled players for the lengths of their contracts. It’s just routine.

Morley C
1 year 8 months ago

I can’t imagine the uproar if, say, Justin Verlander wanted to be released from his contract so he could go and play in the interplanetary baseball league.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Neither can I.

Runtime
1 year 8 months ago

Except, Justin Verlander isn’t playing for Erie SeaWolves. The NPB is a joke compared the MLB and Tanaka is miles better than any team in that league… obviously he wants out.

Runtime
1 year 8 months ago

I didn’t say it would look bad in the eyes of the fans or ownership. I said it would look bad in the eyes of potential FAs.

It might be perceived as an act of aggression against a player for wanting to leave…

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

I don’t get your point. The situation isn’t unlike a player in MLB who wants to be traded to a team where he’d get better playing opportunities. Just because he wants to be traded doesn’t mean he will be.

Runtime
1 year 8 months ago

It’s not the same as a MLB player wanted to be traded though.

It’s like if a player was being held down in AA and wants an opportunity to play on a bigger stage.

What does it say about your organization if your response to players when they say “I don’t want to play here anymore, I deserve better” is “Too bad.”? I understand about “holding onto your assets”, but if a guy straight up doesn’t have his mind in the right place on your team… that’s something completely different.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

I guess we are just not going to agree on this, because the more you tell me how different it is, the more exactly alike it seems. Today’s developments in the Tanaka saga seem to back up my viewpoint that players in both the MLB and NBL know what it means to be under contract.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

I don’t see why it would, or why the team would care if it did. MLB teams hang onto controlled players for the lengths of their contracts. It’s just routine.

bhambravesfan
1 year 8 months ago

I feel like it is kinda like trading Stanton, if you can get the same package in a year, why send him packing earlier than you have too.

Vmmercan
1 year 8 months ago

But they weren’t under obligation to post him before, either.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

Since the Posting Fee hasn’t had any impact on the Luxury Tax, I have a feeling that MLB arranged this knowing that with a low posting fee it would jack the player salary up, effecting luxury tax, and will be more of a substantial hit against these high rolling market teams.

This new arrangement obviously will benefit the small market teams the most unless the player is adamant about joining one of the teams with luxury tax issues.

Maybe this was MLB’s way to “attempt” to cap the large market teams from over spending on these players, and give the rest of MLB teams a chance for these high profile players. Just a thought of mine is all. Maybe I’m wrong?!

kcstengelSr
1 year 8 months ago

i think you are on to something. with more teams bidding, a team like the yankees probably have little hope to stay under the luxury tax after whatever tanaka demands.

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

Why post on Tanaka if you don’t want to spend over 100 million on a pitcher? So it really doesn’t help the small market teams because they won’t spend that kind of money!

Commander_Nate
1 year 8 months ago

We just saw the Mariners drop a Federal Reserve bank on Robinson Cano not even two weeks ago, and Arizona is supposedly one of the teams most interested in Tanaka. Small market teams will find a way if they want to.

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

You are talking about 10 teams that will spend 100 million on Tanaka, that’s it.

Commander_Nate
1 year 8 months ago

Maybe, but that’s a lot more than only one even getting the chance like it was before.

Douglas Bath
1 year 8 months ago

Seattle is a small market?

Vmmercan
1 year 8 months ago

I think you’re onto something, my only question with that is it’s still going to negatively affect small market teams since they will still have to sign players to big contracts affecting the luxury tax. It’s not like big markets will just stop taking risks. The player isn’t going to magically leave a huge contract on the table just because smaller markets posted, you know?

bernbabybern
1 year 8 months ago

Considering Rakutens entire team payroll this year minus Tanaka was probably around 20 mil, I hardly consider that amount “comical”.

Vmmercan
1 year 8 months ago

I’m basing it on what it would have been under the old system, which, at a minimum, is 1/3rd.

Commander_Nate
1 year 8 months ago

I think part of it was a competitive balance issue in NPB too. There were some comments from…I think it was the Yomiuri front office about the amount of money posting teams were able to dump into player development getting ridiculous. $20-30 mil is basically the range of NPB payrolls every year. Even after taxes and whatnot, that’s a ton of money a posting team suddenly has available for drafts, signings, etc. A $75 million injection for one team could have had a huge effect on the league. Imagine if MLB teams were able to give up a top player for that kind of cash. It would drastically alter the market and not in a good way.

This agreement still gives the posting team a nice chunk of change, but also gives the player a say in his destination, doesn’t upset the NPB balance too much and allows more than the top 5 or so MLB teams to have a chance at these players.

Andy Todd
1 year 8 months ago

C’mon Rangers… C’mon… at the very least, M;s. Just no Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, or Giants please!

1 year 8 months ago

They should have made it $20MM for each team, non-refundable.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

That wouldn’t be reasonable. 20 teams posting would give the NPB team $400M.

But I do favor charging a 10-20% non-refundable fee to all teams the player doesn’t sign with. I think $20M is too low, but this would probably average $30-40M in posting fees on the top tier Japanese players.

dc21892
1 year 8 months ago

Hey that was my example yesterday lol.

Karkat
1 year 8 months ago

That was a lot of people’s example because it makes so much sense.

$5427573
1 year 8 months ago

It’s actually a pretty good idea.

Teufelshunde4
1 year 8 months ago

That would be very foolish to have a no refundable posting fee. It would guarantee only the huge market teams like Yanks and Dodgers get first dibs on talent. With a decent size posting fee of 20 million that helps the player and medium size market teams. Levels the playing field just a bit.

Pingston
1 year 8 months ago

This could be epic. The signing makes so much sense for so many teams.

Rangers would have Darvish and Tanaka together. Mariners have strong Japan following already and have made it clear they will spend. Yankees freed of Cano burden. Blue Jays need at least one more reliable starter (and have the money). Dodgers want to get farther. Red Sox want to return to mountain. Giants, Tigers, Cubs, etc.

My question remains what will happen in Tanaka signing aftermath? Will top free agents go quickly or will it stretch out as trades get going?

raltongo
1 year 8 months ago

and the epic-ness is going to be compounded by the fact that smaller market teams are not out of the race (in theory, anyway), which seems to the the impetus for designing this new plan (from MLB’s standpoint). If Tanaka has some kind of strange affinity for Pittsburgh, PA, and their club looks like it could be on the rise, there’s a chance the Pirates could pony up a large sum of money to land him…(or a handful of other small market clubs could do the same)…

HaloeD
1 year 8 months ago

this guys 2011 and 2013 seasons are unreal! i hope his stuff can be carried over to the mlb!

Tim Bowers
1 year 8 months ago

Rumor has it Bobby Ayala is his idol, I say he chooses the M’s.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

He was Iwakuma’s team mate in Japan, so that may help a lot.

Teufelshunde4
1 year 8 months ago

Money will talk if he gets posted. Imo it would make more sense for M’s to go hard after Tanaka instead of trading for Walker in a deal for Price. Keep Walker and get Tanaka and have a staff of aces.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

I think Seattle has the most money available, and will be the most aggressive. With Iwakuma, and Seattle’s Japanese history, and market, I see Seattle as the best fit for him. Plus Seattle is closest to Japan (flight wise)

Jeff Miller
1 year 8 months ago

The Phillies have no history of bidding for Japanese players, but that needs to change immediately. Offer the kid 7-years $126M ($18M/year) and build a rotation around him and Hamels. Then move Lee for high-end prospects, even if it means eating $10M/year.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

Philly has already stated they won’t eat any of Lee or Hamels contracts

Modifish
1 year 8 months ago

Amaro could be eyeing this up. He’s been quiet and he loves pitching and will spend to get it. If somehow Tanaka could be brought to Philly, I don’t think Hamels or Lee go anywhere. Amaro would try to give it a shot this year and despite the age of the core it is possible that the team can win 92-95 games with Tanaka Lee and Hamels the top three. Heck they can win 90 without him if everone is relatively healthy. I’m not as down on the team as everyone else seems to be and think that Sandberg can get more out of them than Manuel did.

Douglas Bath
1 year 8 months ago

the Phils would still lose 90 games next year.

Anthony Hughes
1 year 8 months ago

I think the 3 most likely landing spots are the Yankees, Dodgers, and Mariners, with the Rangers and Angels also considerations. The Yankees are perennial contenders and they do have a history with Japanese players and they can offer big money. The Dodgers are probably the most complete team he could join and ready to seriously contend now (just look at that rotation if he goes there) and, like the Yankees, could pay him top dollar and also have a history with Japanese players. The Mariners have Iwakuma on their roster and the obvious tie-ins with Japan, and are looking to clearly make a splash, although I would argue they aren’t guaranteed contender status like the Dodgers and probably Yankees are. The Rangers are interesting with Darvish there and a recent history of winning, but I’m not sure they would match the Yankees-Dodgers in bidding. The Angels really need a top-of-the-rotation starter, but I see them as a longshot since the Dodgers look so much more appealing on paper.

JasonPen
1 year 8 months ago

The Cubs are the front-runners in my opinion. They have alot of money to spend and they have been patiently stacking young talent.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

I say Seattle. Even after the Cano/Hart/Morrison signings/trade that only puts their 2014 payroll at $66m. Seattle has a Lot of money left and a serious history of these Japanese players, not to mention Seattle is closest to having him visit Japan and be reunited with playing with Iwakuma.

Jake Willock
1 year 8 months ago

The Cubs only have $50M committed in 2014, $30M in 2015/2016, and $20M in 2017… Don’t forget that Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away this year and he was the one who had the final say in all major acquisitions. I have a feeling this will greatly affect the Mariner-Japanese signings. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/index.php?cyear=2017&team=CHN&pos=

Jake Willock
1 year 8 months ago

The Cubs only have $50M committed in 2014, $30M in 2015/2016, and $20M in 2017… Don’t forget that Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away this year and he was the one who had the final say in all major acquisitions. I have a feeling this will greatly affect the Mariner-Japanese signings. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/index.php?cyear=2017&team=CHN&pos=

Jake Willock
1 year 8 months ago

By the way… like the name

Jake Willock
1 year 8 months ago

By the way… like the name

JoeCroninAndRonSanto
1 year 8 months ago

With the way that they have their youngsters spaced out, between 1.5 years and 3 years, it appears that they can afford to front load this contract (and Samardzija’s). They will still come out pretty when the new TV deal lines their pockets.

Douglas Bath
1 year 8 months ago

the Cubs would still lose 85 games next season even if they get this guy. (of course that would be 90 without him).

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

You put Tanaka in that Seattle rotation and then trade for one of these 4 SPs Price/Lee/Scherzer/Hamels and WOW…

1. Felix
2. One of Price/Scherzer/Lee/Hamels
3. Iwakuma
4. Walker or Paxton
5. Tanaka

That would be the BEST and deadliest rotation in MLB!

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

Going into last season the Nats and Rays had the best rotations, it doesn’t guarantee anything.

Anthony Hughes
1 year 8 months ago

Except there is absolutely no way that they could still have Walker if they made a trade for any of those pitchers that you hope they can trade for. Scherzer isn’t going anywhere, and you can’t get Price without giving up Walker. I would imagine the same goes for Hamels and Lee. I would think that if the M’s could somehow sign Tanaka, they would be thrilled with a rotation of Felix/Tanaka/Iwakuma at the top, while still being able to hold onto Walker and Paxton. And they could still sign a solid back-end veteran starter if need be (Bronson Arroyo or somebody similar, who won’t require a lot of years).

王威評
1 year 8 months ago

Ms will be the favorite because
1. History with Japanese players
2. A Japanese Owner
3. Closest city from Japan
4. Teammate of Iwakuma

And the most important part, Ms got $$$ available.

John Kreese
1 year 8 months ago

All good points. The M’s have a lot of things going for them for sure.

Taylor Hope
1 year 8 months ago

Mariners better go hard after Tanaka. I’d much rather roll the dice on him (which is it really rolling the dice?) than deal Taijuan for Price. A rotation of Felix, Iwakuma, Tanaka, Walker, Paxton doesn’t sound too shabby at all.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 8 months ago

Saw an idea in a post earlier that made a lot of sense to me….

Make a part of the money non-refundable to any team that posts. Let us say posting fee is $20MM… make $3MM non refundable. If 11 teams post, then Rakuten generates $3MM * 10 = $30MM + the “winners” $20MM posting fee, for a total of $50MM.

First Bleed
1 year 8 months ago

I was going to make a similar but different comment that the team gets $20 million + X% of the players contract. I think your method is better because taking a percent of the players money would not be fair for that player.

JoeCroninAndRonSanto
1 year 8 months ago

Very good idea but it has to be a percentage, thus the rate won’t fluctuate per contract or deprive the NPB teams of some reward. Say we set the rate at 12% and the posting fee is at 8 million with 16 teams bidding. The NPB team receives 14.4 million (if the player signs with a team) and the additional 8 million from the signing team. Using this logic apply 12% to Tanaka, going rate of 20 million with 20 teams bidding. Rakuten receives 45.6 million from 19 teams and 20 million from signing team, total of 65.6 million is not too shabby from a player projected to sign from 120-150 million. Thoughts?

–Contract Litigator

mikefichera
1 year 8 months ago

This guy posts he is a Yankee. No doubt in my mind. They need the SP they have Kuroda to act as an ambassador the deal is as good as done. Assuming he doesn’t ask for 200mm.

Serge Jays Fan
1 year 8 months ago

Howdy! Well I think The Blue Jays will pass on this Player, like usual, because of Their dubious 5 yeas long contract cap, but Mr Anthopolous told in the past, They can be flexible for just a small bit longer, but I think it is not enough for Mr Tanaka to sign with the Jays. I am for the length of contracts being control very much , but if the MLB would implement it, but now I think it is only the Blue Jays Who has that Policy, if They continues like that, The will I think never Win the World Series except They develop well Their Prospects and Young Players, but last year They traded most of Them, so I do not think Mr Tanaka will come to the Jays. The Jays are very quiet this Winter, because They are dreaming if They trade Relievers for a number two starter, The will have to include a very good position player. To add Mr Tanaka would help, but I think it is only a Dream and not very realistic. Thanks for reading all this and Take good care and be safe and Have a nice day.

John Meloche
1 year 8 months ago

AA recently said they could potentially go to 6 years but they will pay a higher AAV on a shorter deal. You can still sign a guy at 5 years + options with a higher AAV…

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
1 year 8 months ago

At this point I don’t see how the Mariners don’t go all in especially when you consider they’ve already been linked to Price. They might see inking Tanaka as a better alternative to trading for Price and potentially losing him in a couple of seasons.

MB923
1 year 8 months ago

Agreed. Might come down to them and the Yankees. Possibly the Dodgers but their rotation is pretty deep so I don’t see them spending as much even thought they have the $

I think the Angels should go after him too.

Karkat
1 year 8 months ago

Not to mention that there’s a lot of money to be made in Seattle from inking a big Japanese name.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

With only $66m committed in 2014 contracts don’t be surprised to not only sign Tanaka aggressively, but still make a trade for one of Price/Lee/Hamels

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
1 year 8 months ago

Actually if they go after Tanaka then I think they should follow it up by going after a closer like Balfour or possibly see how much the Phils will eat on Paps contract.

Evan
1 year 8 months ago

The Yankees will sign Tanaka. Cashman has already said that he is going to add 400 innings to the roster, and Garza & Santana are horrible fits at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka is the primary pitcher they are after, and this guy is no joke. Think of NPB as somewhere in between AAA & MLB, the dude went 24-0. My only concern is the ridiculous amount of innings he has pitched, and that certainly seemed to affect Dice-K in his later years. But again, Tanaka is only 25 years old. For 6~7 years, I would roll the dice on him.

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

I do think the Yanks will be very motivated to sign Tanaka and would go over the 189 to do it. At this point they would be a major contender in the East if they land Tanaka. After spending money on Beltran,Ellisbury, and McCann I don’t see them penny pinching now!

Evan
1 year 8 months ago

I agree with you. After Ellsbury, I’m highly doubting that they were committed to the 189 in the first place. I mean they still have cap room if A-Rod remains suspended, but they still need to sign 2 more starters & a reliever to have a contending pitching staff. I still like the Red Sox in the East b/c of their pitching depth.

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

When aren’t the Yankees motivated? They’ve already hit the luxury tax once all their ARB players $s are dished out. And now with Arod issue being prolonged out to possibly late in January it really is hindering NY to finish their shopping list. The Yanks have too many holes in their rotation, bullpen, infield, and way too many over aged veterans. I honestly don’t see them contending in 2014. In fact wouldn’t be surprised to see them miss 2014 playoffs for 2nd yr in a row

drwheelock
1 year 8 months ago

Yeah but will Tanaka choose to roll the dice on the Yanks knowing they have so many holes in their lineup and bullpen?!

SierraM363
1 year 8 months ago

What are you talking about? They just signed Brian Roberts!

SierraM363
1 year 8 months ago

What are you talking about? They just signed Brian Roberts!

1 year 8 months ago

It’s not going to be easy to predict where Tanaka goes. There are so many teams with their own pros and cons. It could come down to the most money, it could come down to being closer to home and it could come down to being comfortable with the team. One thing is for sure though, he is going to sign a big money contract regardless so he can be as picky as he wants to.

I really hope the Yankees go all out and can get a little cheerleading from Hiroki, Ichiro and even Matsui. I’m sure they will be a big part of their pitch to him. I really love how they removed the “unfair bidding system” and replaced it with “semi free agency” lol.

slider32
1 year 8 months ago

Even with the new signing system only about 10 teams will seriously go after him. Teams like the Yanks, Sox, Rangers, Angels, Dodgers, Cubs, Nats, Jays, Mariners, and Tigers will spend over 100 million to get him. The other 20 teams are just watching. Tanaka could narrow that list down by location or being a contender.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Probably, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 or more teams put up the posting fee, since it’s without risk. It’s going to come down to more than money in the end, though. Some teams have no doubt scouted him more seriously than others, and they are going to be the real contenders.

JoeCroninAndRonSanto
1 year 8 months ago

Your exactly right. I can see some team like Baltimore, Colorado, or Oakland jumping the gun and making him a 150+ million dollar offer because their scouts love what they see.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

I doubt it.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Probably, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 or more teams put up the posting fee, since it’s without risk. It’s going to come down to more than money in the end, though. Some teams have no doubt scouted him more seriously than others, and they are going to be the real contenders.