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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139 Comments on "MLB Asks Rakuten To Assure No Tanaka Side Deal"


Karkat
1 year 8 months ago

Sounds like Tachibana screwed up by letting the cat out of the bag on this.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Can’t disagree with you there.

BK
1 year 8 months ago

Or MLB shouldnt have cut a deal so wildly one-sided that they need to make one party promise not to cheat it less than a week afterward.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Who says it was one sided? Both sides agreed to the terms, and both sides benefit from them. The problem is you are looking at only the one side.

Robb Birdman
1 year 8 months ago

the mlb bullied them into the contract, there was barely any negotiating. MLB “we’re overpaying your posting few, put a less than reasonable cap to posting fees or have it banned and players will only be allowed to come over when they are free agents” NPB “damn”

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

This is merely your interpretation. What you are not factoring in is the desire of NPB to have a posting agreement that protects their interests in players. If they didn’t get that out of the agreement, they never would have approved it. In any case, once they did approve it, they were bound by its terms.

Karkat
1 year 8 months ago

MLB totally should’ve agreed to it. It’s great for them! It’s the NPB that shouldn’t have 😛

John Donovan
1 year 8 months ago

MLB could have always gone back to the Nomo way of doing things. Let the player retire in Japan, then come to the US for no posting fee whatsoever.

Leonard Washington
1 year 7 months ago

In reality the only parties that benefit from this agreement are the NPB and the player. The MLB owners now pay a bigger amount because of competition and more of it counts towards their caps than ever before. Where is the NPB still gets the luxury (And it is) of 20M for a player that will leave them when he hits free agency. And most importantly of all the players contract will increase from the competition in the market and the cheaper posting fee. So in summary the MLB wanted more teams to be able to be involved and so league wide they all ok’d a bigger cap hit on themselves if they sign him, the player gets more money, and NPB gets less of a posting fee and despite that come out a winner because we are the only league offering them such a luxury. And it it weren’t beneficial to them they wouldn’t post him.

TEXINTILLIDIE
1 year 8 months ago

Extortion?

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

How?

strikethree
1 year 8 months ago

If they threatened Tanaka not to post him if he didn’t donate.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

That doesn’t answer the question of how is it extortion. It was solely their right to post him or not. Negotiating a deal to get a kick back is not extortion. It’s common business practice.

trenigro
1 year 8 months ago

Refusing to post a player unless he agrees to give back money under the table circumventing the rules, sounds like extortion to me. Who knows if that’s what Rakuten tried to do though.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

That is not extortion.

That’s negotiation.

Ratuken has all the leverage, because Tanaka was under contract with the team. They didn’t want to post him. He wanted to be posted. A deal was made. It’s really that simple.

No one forced the other side.

trenigro
1 year 8 months ago

Its an attempt to circumvent the rules that have been put in place that the two leagues agreed to. In business you have to play by the rules.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Circumventing the rules and extortion are two completely different things though. One happens a lot, one doesn’t.

Businesses hire lawyers to find loopholes within laws, deals, etc. It’s common practice.

I guarantee you Eagles will get some form of kick back from Tanaka in some way, publicly or privately. He understands the team did him a huge favor by posting him.

trenigro
1 year 8 months ago

If they are trying to coerce Tanaka through violating the agreement that is in place then it is extortion. Maybe they can find themselves a legal loophole but it seems like the MLB is going to try and make this thing ironclad. They can always try to make an under the table agreement but they better not get caught.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Again, that is NOT extortion. I recommend you look up the term.

Just like MLB has an agreement with NPB, Ratuken probably made an agreement with Tankaka. And just like MLB will try to honor its agreement, Ratuken will try to honor its agreement with Tanaka also.

No extortion. Just agreements.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Extortion: the practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats.

Sounds like the right word to me.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Through force or threats? I’d love to hear this.

Are you saying Ratuken is FORCING or THREATENING Tanaka to pay them?

Or… do you suppose reality is more along the lines of Ratuken and Tanaka agreeing beforehand to kick back some money if they posted him?

Those are two very different things.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Yep, just about. If his team is demanding a kickback in order for them to honor the posting agreement, which is what seems to be the case.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

The team isn’t “demanding” a kick back. It was MUTUALLY agreed upon that he would kick back some $ in return for posting.

The team is demanding as much as Tanaka was demanding to be posted.

It isn’t extortion if both sides are cool with it.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

Teams are explicitly prohibited by the terms of the agreement from requiring any sort of side payment in exchange for being posted. So that’s the first problem. The second problem is, if it happened that way, it means the posting agreement is essentially void, and very likely Tanaka won’t be coming to MLB this season, nor will anyone else, for the foreseeable future. Normally you’re one of the most sensible people around here. I’m having difficulty understanding why you’re not seeing these issues.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

You’re having trouble because I’m not arguing against that.

All I’m saying is that you guys are confused on what extortion is.

What Ratuken and Tanaka would be doing if the kick back was to happen is 100% against the rules of the agreement. However, it is NOT extortion. That has been my entire argument.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

So let’s agree to drop the semantical debate, it was pointless and unproductive in any case. No matter what we choose to call it, the apparent attempt to circumvent the rules (agreed to by both leagues) is the real issue. The argument I’ve been hearing (from you too, please correct me if I’m wrong) is that Ratuken is justified in trying to evade the agreement because the rules are somehow unfair to them or perhaps to all of NPB. If that’s the point, then I think you’ve created an evidence burden for yourself.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

Nope. I’m just saying you guys are confused about what extortion is. That’s a heavy label to throw around. It isn’t just semantics. Saying a team is forcing its player to pay them is a big accusation.

If they want to have a handshake agreement that circumvent the rules, it won’t be the first or last time that has happened. Also, that part of it is not a big deal. But again, just for clarity, that would be against the rules of the agreement, if caught. Personally, I have no problem with it.

My bigger point, however, is that when you came in here claiming it was extortion, you were wrong. As were others that made the same claim. That’s all.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

I was not the one who brought that word into the discussion, but I’ve explained this already. You are the one claiming bad faith was involved, so it’s your point to defend. To me the person who knowingly violates an agreement is acting in bad faith, but you seem to have different thoughts about that — but what it is, I don’t know.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

Reread my posts.

I am not defending their actions. I’m simply stating that it is not that uncommon for businesses to have handshake agreements. You’re making it out as if I work for the Eagles. I don’t.

I’m simply saying that handshake agreements are common practice to circumvent rules in the business world. And handshake agreements don’t automatically equal extortion.

Seriously, read my posts leading up to this. That’s all I’ve been saying.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

About rereading posts, I could say the same thing to you about mine.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

But I understood your posts. You, however, kept trying to put me in a corner trying to defend Ratuken, when all I was doing was expanding on extortion. Or lack there of.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

Not sure you did. I’m no more asking you to defend Ratuken then you were trying to get me to argue semantics.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

I’ll quote.

“The argument I’ve been hearing (from you too, please correct me if I’m wrong) is that Ratuken is justified in trying to evade the agreement because the rules are somehow unfair to them or perhaps to all of NPB. If that’s the point, then I think you’ve created an evidence burden for yourself.”

“Teams are explicitly prohibited by the terms of the agreement from requiring any sort of side payment in exchange for being posted. So that’s the first problem.”

Just to reiterate, we both believe that Ratuken is circumventing the rules of the agreement.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

Also, I was not TRYING to get you to argue semantics. Keep in mind the chronology. YOU entered the conversation by defining the term extortion. I did not ask your opinion.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

Yup, sometimes you get opinions even when you haven’t asked for them. I’m not sure what to make of that observation.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

I’m saying, don’t feign innocence. You can’t come into a conversation about what a term means, then get upset that we’re talking about “semantics.”

And then go on about what Ratuken is doing is wrong… when I never said otherwise.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

Innocence ain’t got nothing to do with it. At this point I think you’re just enjoying the argument too much, and I’m not up for that. I’ve made my views clear, and will leave it there. We can revisit this when something new develops.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

Also, the original post we’re responding to had one word with a question mark. That word was extortion.

Second, you felt the need to come in and define the term, then say “Sounds like the right word to me.” so don’t claim innocence now.

So no, you didn’t bring it into the discussion, but you did define and defend it.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

I stand by the definition (it was cut and pasted straight from the dictionary), and also that the semantics debate is irrelevant for the other stated reasons. Hoping to turn the discussion to something more interesting and relevant. Can only try…

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

Sure, it works just as well as Kanye thinks he’s a slave to the corporations. It’s hyperbole. Not reality.

It isn’t semantics. And it isn’t irrelevant. If a team was forcing their player to give them money… that would be a HUGE deal. This is not it. That has been my point.

Usually, both sides aren’t happy with the agreement in an extortion case.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

Speaking of hyperbole… you have no way of knowing who was happy. You are making a huge assumption that I am not prepared to accept.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

Happy meaning both sides are okay with the agreement. Here, since you like definitions. Here’s one from wikipedia.

A gentlemen’s agreement is an informal agreement between two or more parties. It is typically oral, though it may be written, or simply understood as part of an unspoken agreement by convention or through mutually beneficial etiquette. The essence of a gentlemen’s agreement is that it relies upon the honor of the parties for its fulfillment, rather than being in any way enforceable. It is, therefore, distinct from a legal agreement or contract, which can be enforced if necessary.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

Then forget the semantics, it isn’t important. You seem to be supporting the idea that the posting agreement between the leagues was unfair to NPB in some way, and as a result it doesn’t matter if a NPB team violates it. If that’s what you believe, then I think you need to explain and defend that concept.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

I’m curious. Did you also think the Dodgers FORCING Manny Ramirez to pay 1m of his salary to the Dodgers Dream Foundation was extortion?

trenigro
1 year 8 months ago

Extortion: “The crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority.”

Based on the rules that have been agreed to by the NPB and MLB, a team can only claim a $20M posting fee as compensation for posting a player. Rakuten does not have the authority to force Tanaka to give them additional money for the right to be posted. That would be extortion and a violation of the agreement between the two leagues.

An agreement is only valid under law if it is legal. If Tanaka and Ratuken made an agreement which violates the agreement between NPB and MLB then it is not a legal agreement. I can agree to sell you my car for $10,000 and only put $5000 on the bill of sale so that you can pay less tax, but that would not be legal.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Uh huh. Ratuken does not have the right to force Tanaka to give them additional money. And Tanaka didn’t have the right to post himself. So there was a compromise made. An agreement.

It may circumvent the rules, but don’t fool yourself into believing that is the same thing as extortion.

Yes, not a legal binding agreement, a handshake agreement in good faith between two parties. It happens all the time.

hediouspb
1 year 8 months ago

so the agreement they made with tanaka to post him is invalid and he isn’t posted? tanaka offered to donate repairs and upgrades to a field in order to convince the team to post them. tanaka’s illegal action voids the agreement and his posting is voided? people are acting like the team is the one that wanted to post him. after the rule change they wanted him to stay one more year.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

No, it’s extortion, if it happened that way. All NPB teams are obligated to follow the rules of the league, just as all MLB teams are required to do so.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Not following the rules is not extortion. That is what I’m trying to explain here. Extortion, in a court of law, is something totally different than what is going on here. This is a handshake agreement between two parties. It’s not that uncommon. Like, at all.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

I’m not interested in legal definitions. The dictionary definitions works fine for our purposes.

hediouspb
1 year 8 months ago

the dictionary does not help your argument.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Only if you read it. I wasn’t the one who brought the concept of extortion into this discussion, but once it was there, I figured it made sense to make sure we were all talking about the same idea. In any case the argument I’ve made several times already is that it’s in the interest of the two leagues to have the posting agreement remain in place, so it seems the real risk is that it’s already been voided. Probably this fact should be of more interest to baseball fans than a semantics debate. It is to me, anyway.

strikethree
1 year 8 months ago

It isn’t an extreme form of extortion, but you could easily argue that they are operating in bad-faith of the rules.

Loopholes are common business practice, but that doesn’t make them ethical nor does it mean that MLB should not try to close the loophole.

In the end, both posting systems lead to the player getting shafted. The old one gave all the leverage to the posting team and the highest bidder MLB team; here, it results in the same funneling of money back to the Japanese team.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Once again, operating in “bad faith of the rules” or “loopholes” or unethical business practices are NOT the same as extortion.

If this was to go to court for extortion, it would get dismissed easily. If it was to go for something else, you would have a case. But not extortion.

TEXINTILLIDIE
1 year 8 months ago

If you are a lawyer and I was in the MAFIA, you Sr. Would defiantly be hired!

Douglas Bath
1 year 7 months ago

why would you defiantly hire him? would someone be blackmailing you not to hire him and you’d do it anyway?

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

Maybe he’s getting extorted. hahaaha

hediouspb
1 year 8 months ago

extortion is the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by abuse of one’s office or authority. refusing to let someone out of a contract early unless you give them financial reason is not extortion. it may well be against the agreement but it is not extortion.

GD
1 year 8 months ago

If there was a MLB Team involved prior to the posting, it’s gonna get really ugly!

GD
1 year 8 months ago

Since there is now more competition for top tier NPB players, with lowered Posting Fees, it opens up very scrupulous and devious “back-channeling” methods from large market MLB teams in their attempts to continue to have an ‘unfair’ advantage.

GD
1 year 8 months ago

It appears Ratuken had made an arrangement to post Tanaka if he agreed to back-channel money to the team. With Tanaka’s huge desire to go to MLB, I wouldn’t have an issue with this ‘unless’ a MLB team was involved in the negotiations with Ratuken too ‘if’ Tanaka signed with them.

Severe penalties will need to happen if a MLB team was involved prior to the posting of Tanaka. If so, I think if this is uncovered the MLB Team should be banned from bidding on NPB players for at least a 5 year period, along with additional fines.

If you think the Arod issue is bad enough, if a MLB team was caught doing this Ouch!

thegrayrace
1 year 8 months ago

Why would an MLB team be involved in this? They simply sign Tanaka to a contract. What Tanaka does with that money (for example, donate a portion of it to another party) is his business. The MLB team wouldn’t have any need to be involved in that aspect of it.

TEXINTILLIDIE
1 year 8 months ago

The reason I posted the comment “extortion” was merely to see what people thought. In all simple comprehension, all Rakuten has to do is reply back to the MLB saying “no side deals” and their off the hook. Then Tanaka can “donate” all the money he wants.

GrilledCheese39
1 year 8 months ago

This just doesn’t make sense… It’s Tanaka’s money he can do what he pleases with it

StevePegues
1 year 8 months ago

He can’t use it to help interfere in someone else’s contractual relations, can he?

Gary
1 year 8 months ago

The problem is, it might set a precedent of teams wanting a kickback for the posting of their players.

1 year 8 months ago

It may be his money, but if this doesn’t get stopped now — especially this early in the new agreement — then what’s stopping NPB teams from holding their players “ransom” by not posting them without a little extra money? They’re trying to find loopholes to the $20 million limit, the exact opposite of what the agreement sought to combat.

PhillyYank
1 year 8 months ago

All MLB wants here to get assurance from Rakuten that they are making no side arrangements. Tanaka is not being asked to make any sort of agreement. He can do what he pleases with his money. It’s the team that is being accused of debauchery.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

I think you’re forgetting that it is the team’s, and ONLY the team’s right to post the player. If a player wants to be posted, he has absolutely no say in it if he’s under contract, so it’s not uncommon to ask for something back if you’re the team.

It’s uncommon to speak about it publicly though haha.

Bob George
1 year 8 months ago

The team does hold all of the power in this situation, but demanding (or negotiating) the player make “a donation” to improve their stadium is ridiculous. Either post him and obey the rules or do not post him. I wonder if a Japanese player has ever been a hold out in NPB, although I doubt it.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Why is it ridiculous?

Is it not equally as, or even more so, ridiculous as the player demanding (or negotiating) that he be posted, despite being under contract for 2 more years?

What’s ridiculous is the 20m max bid. That is what’s causing all this in the first place.

trenigro
1 year 8 months ago

The key words there are that its Tanaka’s money not Rakuten’s. He shouldn’t be pressured or coerced into giving his former team more than the $20M that they are entitled to.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

In that same regard, the right to post the player was Ratuken’s, not Tanaka’s.

I’m sure a deal was made. Tanaka is not the victim, simply one of the negotiating parties involved.

trenigro
1 year 8 months ago

Yup it was Ratuken’s choice to post him but under the rules, they are only entitled to the $20M posting fee.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Right, no one is arguing that. Also, the sky is blue.

RobbyH619
1 year 8 months ago

They are entitled to the 20 mill from whatever team as a posting fee. Says nothing about how much money they can negotiate from a player in order to post him at his request. It’s a quid pro quo agreement. Tanaka agrees to help Rakuten with the stadium and Rakuten promises to post him immediately and let him out of his contract without any hard feelings. They don’t have to post him it’s a business not a charity they’re running. People may not like it and may be disgusted by it but it’s a monetary numbers game. You don’t give away your best assest. I wish mlbtraderumors or another website would crunch the numbers and project if 20 mill Is enough to cover what a team would lose in revenue from guys like tanaka darvish etc.

PhillyYank
1 year 8 months ago

I don’t care if Tanaka gives his salary to a group dedicated to the restoration of Imperial Japan, igniting a third World War. Do whatever you want with your salary.

pft2
1 year 8 months ago

MLB is not saying otherwise, they are telling Rakuten they can’t accept it. So Tanaka will still give it to them via a 3rd party. MLB just wants Rakuten to not advertise the fact that the new system encourages players to be blackmailed by their team and have to pay an exit fee.

Tony Matias
1 year 8 months ago

Yeah.. because the MLB can exploit the players as much as they can, but it’s a big no-no for anyone else to do it.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
1 year 8 months ago

… There’s talks of him getting a $100M deal. If that’s exploitation then I really don’t know what you can call below minimum wage.

pft2
1 year 8 months ago

Look at guys like Mike Trout who is making 500 K while producing 50 million for the Angels. The number of players who actually make it to free agency is relatively low compared to the totals who make it to MLB,a nd there are many more players stuck in the minor leagues for 1 team because they are blocked by a star and who have no way to move to another team until they become minor league free agents or are traded to a team that does have an opening.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
1 year 8 months ago

Mike Trout getting $500k next year is part of the same system that allows ARod to get $20M+ for mostly sitting around. It’s not exploitation, it’s part of the deal that will overall benefit both sides.

pft2
1 year 8 months ago

Its is exploitation of the majority (younger players) that benefits the few (older stars). It’s legal, but only legal because the MLBPA agreed to the system.

The main beneficiary besides the teams are the agents who make more money under the current system since earning 5% on a 300 million contract is much more lucrative than 5% of 50 – 6 million contracts,. Manpower requirements for 50 contracts dwarfs that of 1 contract (even a big one) . Miller had a chance to push for free agency for all once the reserve clause was busted in arbitration, and had at least one owner on his side (Finley) but the older stars liked the system that restricted free agents and kept the younger players out of the market.

I don’t think he realized the consequences which were that MLB teams now hold back minor league players until they reached their peak. So today there are far fewer 20-22 yo players and many have to wait until they are 25, delaying their free agency until they are in their 30’s in their declining years.

Definitely exploitation of the young for the benefit of the older guys and MLB teams.

Bob George
1 year 8 months ago

That’s the same in all businesses and all sports.

1 year 8 months ago

That’s what arbitration is for. Mike Trout’s payday will come soon enough.

StevePegues
1 year 8 months ago

You sure there’s now fewer 20-22 year-old players than there used to be? And, if so, are you sure it’s due to teams holding back players until they’re older? This doesn’t make much sense, intuitively. I can’t see an MLB team engaging in such risky long-term planning.

I recall some old-timers talking about how, during their heyday, there were probably All-Star-caliber players in the Yankee minor leagues that never got to see a MLB field because they couldn’t supplant Mantle or Berra, or etc. Nowadays, with way more MLB players than there ever used to be, nobody who’s good enough is likely to spend a whole career, or even an inordinately-long or artificially-long time, in the minors.

Bob George
1 year 8 months ago

How many years has Trout been in MLB? How many years has Tanaka been in NPB? Tanaka already was making more than Trout because he’s been in the league 7 years.

Leonard Washington
1 year 8 months ago

I think your confusing the MLB with the NCAA.

Mike1L
1 year 8 months ago

It’s actually a complicated issue. MLB wants to give mid market and smaller market teams a shot at the best Japanese players. By capping the posting fee, at least they can stay in the game and bid just like they would on any other free agent. A kickback just ends up getting passed back into the system in a higher salary, because if the agent knows that Tanaka (or future Tanakas) has to give back, say, 30% of his pay, he’s got to find some way to recover that from the signing team, which defeats MLB’s ostensible intent. There’s probably a happy medium, like the player donating, say, $1M per year in local charity. But building a roof for a stadium?

1 year 8 months ago

An international draft is the only way to let the small market teams have access to these types of players. The the cost of the player is the same (or higher) more is just going to the player rather than the international team

Mike1L
1 year 8 months ago

That’s a good point. I think MLB is too obsessed with controlling every aspect of how players get to team rosters. There are, unfortunately, a lot of opportunities for corruption.

pft2
1 year 8 months ago

Tanakas agent will always seek to maximize whatever deal he can get. What his costs are after the deal is made does not affect how much teams will be willing to offer him.

This is unlike the positing fee, which gets deducted from the total amount a team is willing to spend on Tanaka .

Bottom line, you can control what you spend, but not what you are worth on the open market.

Mike1L
1 year 8 months ago

I think the math is essentially the same. The agent will try to get the maximum, but the posting fee is a concrete amount. The $20M cap leaves uncertainty..

Seanb1223
1 year 8 months ago

I love what Keith Law had to say about this subject. “@keithlaw: If you have to ask the other party not to cheat on the deal you struck, maybe you should try to make the deal less unfair.”

Genius.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

I suppose the operative theory here is that NPB was forced to sign the posting agreement. No sale. Law’s theory is ridiculous. People try to cheat on agreements all the time, not because they are unfair, but because some people are crooked.

Cobby_Box
1 year 7 months ago

Rakuten probably does feel pretty cheated by the deal. They watched the Seibu Lions sell off their big name for 50 million, watched the Nippon Ham Fighters sell off their big name for 51.7 million.and then when their turn comes up to sell their big name… 20 million. That hurts.

I guess I am in the camp that thinks MLB was in a good position to step on NPB in these discussions with the threat of signing their high school players or other Nomo-like deals to take their players away otherwise. Basically MLB could walk in and tell them “It’s a lovely posting system you have here… it would be a shame if something… happened to it.”

For the vast majority of players (that aren’t worth a 20 million fee anyway) this system probably is pretty fair, and it’s great for the players to actually have a choice, it’s just with these blue chippers that the NPB teams get punched in the gut somewhat.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

I think you’re right. NPB is probably in a pretty poor bargaining position when it comes to negotiating a posting agreement — MLB is just plain bigger and richer. I don’t know how you fix that problem, as it seems like an inherent mismatch. Still the NPB teams need protection for their interests in their controlled players, and MLB seems not unwilling to provide some, with the aim of maintaining a good relationship with NPB. As you say, they don’t have to do it — they could raid talent from Japan’s teams with virtual impunity if that’s the way they wanted it. But as I read this, both sides would prefer not to go war with each other. I can see how Rakuten might feel unlucky with their timing for their star player, but that’s just the breaks, and if one team takes down the entire system because they don’t like how it worked for them, the relationship between the leagues is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. So far total silence from the Rakuten camp. I wonder what that means.

johansantana15
1 year 8 months ago

NPB didn’t have to agree to the $20M posting fee…if they thought it was unfair, they would have just said no.

thegrayrace
1 year 8 months ago

It isn’t really that simple though, is it? Presuming no other elite Japanese players come along in the next 3 years, it would appear that the agreement is unfair to only one team – Rakuten. Shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the other teams in NPB supported an agreement that appears unlikely to impact them, but does weaken a rival team…

johansantana15
1 year 7 months ago

There will never be another NPB player who would net a posting fee of over $20M in an open market? I find that difficult to believe.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
1 year 8 months ago

I’m really not sure why people are getting upset by this. The truth is Rakuten was reluctant to post Tanaka the second there was a $20M maximum fee. Does anyone really know if Rakuten didn’t tell Tanaka that they’d only post him for a kick back?

MLB stepping in to assure that Tanaka isn’t kicking back part of his salary with an NPB team ensures the posted player’s rights and ensures the spirit of the agreement between NPB and MLB.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

I don’t understand why the owner of the Eagles discussed this publicly.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
1 year 8 months ago

I’m going to go with “he didn’t discuss his speech with a smarter person” vote.

Bob George
1 year 8 months ago

That’s the single biggest mistake in this entire deal.

Kendall Cooper
1 year 8 months ago

Tanaka could always just send me money instead…

MadmanTX
1 year 8 months ago

I hope Rakuten somehow gets more money and then let’s see MLB sue a Japanese team for daring to get more money that MLB declared they can have. I’d love to see a judge think that MLB is in the right by limiting the bidding fee.

StevePegues
1 year 8 months ago

Ummm… the issues in the lawsuit would hopefully be more confined to the terms of the contract. If Rakuten gets more money by breaching a contract, or by getting someone to breach it for them, then there’s no place for gut-feeling rulings of right vs. wrong.

1 year 8 months ago

NPB Team in the old system: “You want to negotiate with this player? Let’s see how much you can pay. O-oh you small market teams can’t pay more for just the negotiation rights than the Yankees’ $60mil? Ah..well…too bad.”

The negotiation system isn’t for the benefit or limitation of either side. Rather, it’s so that the players ultimately get what they want, if they want it (and if teams are okay with it) and all teams have a fair chance of negotiation rights. If a team thinks their player is worth more than $20m then it’s very simple: don’t post them.

Benjamin Markham
1 year 8 months ago

This is what happens when you institute price floors. Just further evidence that the new rules on posting players is stupid

1 year 8 months ago

I’m struggling to see why the Golden Eagles should comply. What would happen? Would MLB really forbid Tanaka from coming?

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

At the very least, the current posting agreement falls apart, and the next one proves impossible to negotiate because of bad faith on one side.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

But which party acted in bad faith is debatable.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 8 months ago

Seems totally obvious to me, but you are welcome to propose your own theory.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

Pot, kettle… stones, glass houses… pick one.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

IOW, you haven’t got a theory?

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

You want me to come up with a theory to back up your theory (of the current agreement falling apart)? lol

Okay, I’ll play along.

IF this falls apart, then both sides will blame the other, not bad faith on just one side, as you said. MLB will say NPB acted unjustly by Eagles getting a kickback. And NPB will say MLB lowballed them with the max bid.

Again, both are debatable.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

Ah, now I see the problem. You don’t make a distinction between who abides by or violates an agreement, or you assume that NPB didn’t sign it voluntarily (hey, maybe it was extortion!). Neither works for me. The 12 teams of NPB and the 30 of MLB are bound by it. I’d imagine that 11 team owners in Japan cannot be any happier with Rakuten right now than the 30 of MLB.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

NPB did sign it voluntarily. It was not extortion (hint, it almost never is).

You’re confusing my stance. I am not saying what they are doing is right. I’m just saying that it is common. I hope you understand the difference between the two terms.

About the agreement, the other teams in the NPB couldn’t care less. It doesn’t and won’t affect them. By the time they have a player they want to post, the agreement will be over. Then they can renegotiate on a new deal. This only affects Ratuken.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
1 year 7 months ago

I am a lot less confused about what you are saying than you seem to believe. The major point of our disagreement is probably over the consequences. This recent posting agreement was clearly a difficult negotiation. It was meant to run for three years, but it may well be voided before it is ever really used. That can hardly makes the next one easier to set up, and I’m sure the other teams in NPB could care a lot if they don’t get a chance to deal players for cash when they want, or have players go the Nomo route and leave them with nothing. The leagues didn’t negotiate a posting agreement for no reason. The fact that we’ve heard no response from NPB since MLB demanded an answer on Tenaka tells me something is going on behind the scenes, and I can easily see why it may well not bode well for the future of posting.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

This is a completely different conversation though.

The major point of our disagreement was not consequence. It was over whether extortion is taking place or not. Clearly, it isn’t.

Originally, we were talking about whether or not Ratuken is forcing Tanaka’s hand, which I think we both are clear that they’re not. Furthermore we’re more educated on the difference between extortion and a gentlemen’s agreement.

So, that’s why I think you’re confused. Because even now, you seem to be talking about something other than what my point was.

Not extortion. A gentlemen’s agreement. Commonplace in business.

That is all. That is my point. And nothing more. Maybe we’ll get into the rest of it another time, but for now, my entire point has been from the start to show how wrong you guys are for calling this “extortion.”

kungfucampby
1 year 8 months ago

They signed an agreement (they being part of the NPB). So yeah breaching contract is usually a bad thing to do, legally.

1 year 8 months ago

The “bad” is hard to quantify though. MLB can’t really fine the Golden Eagles. NPB might, but no certainty since they’re not necessarily directly affected by the outcome of Tanaka beyond whatever tax or money is given to them by the Eagles. The fact that MLB is trying to get the Golden Eagles to sign something shows that leverage in this situation is tricky.

Karkat
1 year 8 months ago

I would personally enjoy watching this theoretical game of chicken unfold, since the Sox are very unlikely to be players for Tanaka anyway.

1 year 7 months ago

I would too. I’m glad the Sox have little chance to sign him, he’s too risky for the kind of money that this bidding war will lead to.

East Coast Bias
1 year 8 months ago

MLB needs to be careful here. This is all setting a bad precedent for NPB teams, and they will surely think twice before posting a player in the future.

Wek
1 year 8 months ago

Not posting a player will only result in a loss for the NPB team. Once the player reaches FA he will be gone and the NPB team will receive nothing in return. MLB will not lose anything by waiting for the next Darvish to hit FA. And you can bet every Darvish in the NPB will want to come to the MLB and get paid 20-30 times more.

thegrayrace
1 year 8 months ago

… or the NPB team can simply wait until only 1 year remains on the player’s contract before posting them.

Uriel Alessandro
1 year 7 months ago

Not always FA in Japan and payer loyalty is much different than it is in MLB. Ichiro didn’t want to leave unless he was sure his team got something back. Not sure if this would still be the case today but there it is.

East Coast Bias
1 year 7 months ago

Young Japanese players rarely leave the country for the states. It’s frowned upon. Keep in mind, that is their home. They want to go back to Japan some day. Loyalty is a big deal there.

John Donovan
1 year 8 months ago

Who needs whom more in this situation? Does NPB need money more than MLB needs players? I think so.

If they don’t post then MLB will just wait for the player to be a free agent and the NPB teams will see nothing. It’s also possible if that happens that some Japanese players will avoid NPB altogether and start signing with US teams and come to the minors as teenagers like other countries.

The most MLB can lose is time in this situation. NPB can lose their cash cow.

Zak A
1 year 8 months ago

So once they reveal some side deal do they end the “pipeline” and throw up an embargo?

dmm1047
1 year 8 months ago

Who cares if they do? It’s not like there’s a ton of Japanese players kicking down the doors to get into MLB.

Zak A
1 year 7 months ago

Well yea there probably are a ton of Japanese players that would LOVE to get paid real $ instead of yen aka the peanuts in comparison they could earn in the US even in farm systems.

dshires4
1 year 8 months ago

Does MLB really have the authority to tell Tanaka how to spend his money?

Uriel Alessandro
1 year 7 months ago

No, but under the contract with the NPB it has the authority to tell a Japanese team not to accept it.

Jason J. Shaw
1 year 8 months ago

The $20 Mil limit allows small market teams an opportunity to negotiate. Small market teams still don’t have a prayer with a player chasing big money. What needs to be done to compliment the posting ceiling is to have a salary ceiling for the first couple years of the foreign player in MLB and control MLB teams from kicking money back to Japan. If the player wants to kick money back, it’s not the MLB’s business, not to mention it’s difficult to police.

Jason J. Shaw
1 year 8 months ago

Essentially, MLB should be focusing on controlling MLB teams in order to even the playing field. They didn’t include it this go round and are just trying to find a cover for their lack of a thoroughly thought-out deal.

Scott Parker
1 year 8 months ago

The posting fee ($20m) should be counted as part of the salary cap. That way it potentially costs teams near or over the cap more, suppressing the price eventually paid.

Thereby giving smaller market teams and mid- market teams more of an equal chance in two ways to sign Japan players. It only effects the cap for one year, so it wouldn’t be overly burdumsome to a team year after year.

1) Cheaper means a better chance for more teams
2) reducing the amount of large market teams willing or able to go over the cap means a better chance for more teams

I don’t understand why MLB and the 20 ish mid-market/small-market teams allow the posting fee to not count against the cap at only $20 million. They are usually all about suppressing Salary’s.

Not sure if the players association should be against not cap counting as well as it reduces the total salary of that player by $20 million over the life of his contract affecting qualifying offers. I guess it’s not as bad as the old plan that way and Japanese stars overall increase qualifying offers.

RobbyH619
1 year 8 months ago

Well I expect tanaka and the NBP to not cut any side deals and honor the agreement. In related news though I heard a wealthy beneficiary named Joseph Smith has agreed to help build a new stadium for Rakuten since Tanaka isn’t able to; he also clarified that tanaka and him aren’t related in any way shape or form.