MLB Asks Rakuten To Assure No Tanaka Side Deal

Major League Baseball has asked the Rakuten Golden Eagles to submit in writing an assurance that the club does not have a side deal with Masahiro Tanaka, Bill Shaikin and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times report. Rakuten has not yet responded to MLB's letter.

Late last week, Shaikin and Hernandez reported that MLB would make sure that Tanaka was not donating to Rakuten. A donation would violate MLB's deal with NPB, which stipulates that Japanese teams not receive any money beyond a player's posting fee, which has a $20MM limit.

Rakuten's president, Yozo Tachibana, had reportedly said that Tanaka would "cooperate and donate . . . starting with improving the environment for the players and to make sure it’s the kind of stadium that can be loved by [local] fans." Rakuten has considered adding a dome.

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