MLB, NPB Announce Agreement On New Posting System

Major League Baseball and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball announced that they have officially agreed on a new posting system, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The new agreement will be in place for three years.

Reports last week indicated that the two sides would have a conference call today to ratify the new system, which will cap the posting fee for a player at $20MM and allow all teams that tie for the highest bid to negotiate with the posted player. The new rules, according to an MLB release, are as follows:

  • If an NPB Club wishes to make one of its players available to Major League Clubs, the NPB shall notify the Office of the Commissioner of the NPB player's potential availability and the "release fee" that a Major League Club must pay to the NPB Club in order to secure the NPB player's release. The NPB Club may not set a release fee at an amount higher than $20 million and the fee cannot be changed once it has been set by an NPB Club.
  • The Office of the Commissioner shall then "post" the NPB player's availability by notifying all Major League Clubs of the NPB player's availability and the release fee sought by the NPB Club.
  • All "postings" of NPB players must be made between November 1 and February 1.
  • Beginning the day after the player is posted, and concluding 30 days later, any Major League Club willing to pay the release fee set by the NPB Club may then negotiate with the player in an attempt to reach agreement on a contract.
  • If a Major League Club is able to reach an agreement on a contract with the posted NPB player, the Major League Club must pay the NPB Club the designated release fee, which will occur in installments, the timing of which depends on the size of the release fee.
  • If the posted NPB player fails to reach an agreement with a Major League Club, the release fee is not owed, the NPB player remains under reserve to his NPB Club, and the player may not be posted again until the following November 1.
  • The term of the new posting agreement is three years, continuing from year-to-year thereafter until either the Office of the Commissioner or NPB gives of its intent to terminate the agreement 180 days prior to the anniversary of the commencement of the agreement.

The biggest immediate impact presented by the new posting system will be felt when the Rakuten Golden Eagles decide whether or not to post ace Masahiro Tanaka. The 25-year-old has long been thought to be up for grabs this offseason, but the new rules don't sit well with the Golden Eagles ownership, as they'd been in line for a posting fee worth $75MM or more under the old system. Rakuten will reportedly talk to Tanaka this week to make their decision, but recent indications seem to point toward them keeping Tanaka for another year and possible posting him next season. Assistant GM Aki Sasaki recently told reporters that he does not think a $20MM posting fee is a fair trade for Tanaka.

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56 Responses to MLB, NPB Announce Agreement On New Posting System Leave a Reply

  1. MadmanTX 2 years ago

    Now the long (?) wait begins to see how the Rakuten Golden Eagles deal with Tanaka.

  2. Someone do a remake of “Groundhog Day” but about the MLB/NPB posting system. 😉

  3. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

    Under the current system the posting deadline is March first. Might be a long wait until we know if Tanaka is coming state side in 2014.

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

      It might have been March before, but it is now February 1.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

        Players must be posted by Feb 1 because the team(s) with the winning bid have 30 days to negotiate with the player. Posting process is officialy open Nov 1 – March 1 per NPB

  4. JacobyWanKenobi 2 years ago

    It wouldn’t be so bad if 5 to 10mm was nonrefundable. That way there would be some advantage teams more willing to spend, and less of a window for teams to be bothersome who don’t intend to spend it all

    • Karkat 2 years ago

      Even 10% would make sense. A stud like Tanaka would still end up making Rakuten 50+ with a 10% non-refundable fee

      • JacobyWanKenobi 2 years ago

        Eventually this plan for competitive balance will turn to imbalance

  5. Ed 2 years ago

    MLB owners are the most anti-capitalist group of billionaires known to man.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

      Buying other countries’ resources for pennies on the dollar is pretty capitalist…

      • Ed 2 years ago

        Ha! Good point.

      • Commander_Nate 2 years ago

        As are anti-trust exemptions.

        • BlueSkyLA
          BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

          Most people probably don’t know what you are talking about. Baseball is a legalized monopoly. So says Congress, and the Supreme Court.

      • beisbolista 2 years ago

        Unless the other country refuses to sell the resources because of the inadequate offer, which is the real issue here. MLB’s obsession with the small markets is preventimg the league as a whole from enjoying a new star player

    • BeisbolJunkie 2 years ago

      So I am guessing they proudly celebrate Festivus.

  6. dmm1047 2 years ago

    And MLB players and agents think having to fork over a draft pick to sign a free agent is outrageous?

  7. Wooltron 2 years ago

    When a Japanese player hits free agency is there still a posting fee involved?

  8. Drew Brees 2 years ago

    Even if Rakuten keeps him for another year, the new posting system will be in place for 3 years, so they will still get only $20 million. It wont make a difference if Rakuten posts him this year or next. I agree its not a fair trade for a pitcher like Tanaka, but the entire blame goes to the NPB officials who agreed to this system.

    • I think the point of keeping him is that they will have their best player still on their team and a top attraction for their fans. I’m not in the know of there “winning awareness”, but I’m sure they also want to win again next year. So just because the posting fee will not increase next year, there is value in just saying “no” and keeping him.

      However, they have to be careful not to upset Tanaka, their fans and their players by outright denying him his dream.

    • They do get another year to market him in Japan. I’m sure that having their star pitcher has to be worth something in their market. Then they get the $20M next year, assuming he doesn’t get injured. That’s the real gamble.

  9. John 2 years ago

    LOL! A 20 million dollar posting fee isn’t fair? Don’t get me wrong, I realize the guy is just trying to make a buck (70+ million bucks, to be exact) similar to what was given in the past, but to say that $20,000,000 JUST to negotiate with a guy isn’t fair is ludicrous.

    • leberquesgue 2 years ago

      fixed this for you: “…JUST to sign a guy…” And, I would argue, you should correct your conclusion. Elite soccer players change hands for upwards of $100million.

      • John 2 years ago

        My apologies on the first part, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is ludicrous.

        • BeisbolJunkie 2 years ago

          I agree. But consider it from their point of view. Not only is he a star and helps them win, he is a commodity. He makes them money. Lets say you had gone and filed your taxes and you were expecting a $75k tax refund. But the IRS didn’t really want to part with it. They take the matter to the Pres and he negotiates with your State’s Senators and declare that there will now be a cap of $20k on all refunds. So after you had already spent that $ in your head on a new ride or real estate, are you still going to say it is ludacris?

          • John 2 years ago

            I can’t really sympathize with that view. You’re not supposed to count your chickens before the eggs hatch, just like you shouldn’t spend money that you don’t physically have yet.

  10. Eric LaZare 2 years ago

    They’ll post him within a week. It’s 20 mil now or if he gets hurt….nothing. The risk is now all on Rakuten and not posting him will lead to an unhappy less productive player.

    • Tko11 2 years ago

      If he gets hurt he will come back and be posted in the future anyway and the Eagles will receive the same $20 million. No reason to post him now.

    • PX 2 years ago

      you have no idea how big of a superstar he is in Japan. He makes Rakuten easily way more than $20 million in endorsements, sponsorships, ticket sales, etc. He is the no.1 player here without doubt, so Rakuten would much rather keep him and then let his value depreciate next year and make the $20 million then.

  11. TLB2001 2 years ago

    Are Japanese amateur players allowed to sign directly with US teams or are they required to play in the NPB first and then go through the posting system? I’m far from an expert, but anecdotally I cannot recall a single player that came from Japan to the US as an amateur.

    • Commander_Nate 2 years ago

      They can, but there’s heavy social pressure not to bypass NPB. I believe there’s also a rule that if they leave as an amateur, then come back to Japan, they have to wait a certain amount of time before playing in NPB. That’s a lot weighing on the mind of a 17-18 year old.

      • TLB2001 2 years ago

        Appreciate the reply. Do you happen to know if this has happened before and if so, some examples?

        • chris german 2 years ago

          Junichi Tazawa bypassed the NPB to sign with the Red Sox.

          An example of when a player was pressured out of it: Shohei Otani a few years back was drafted by the Nippon Ham Fighters after specifically saying not to draft him so he can go directly to the MLB. He eventually relented and is in Japan now.

        • bryancolwell 2 years ago

          Recently, high school phenom Shohei Otani wanted to skip the NPB and come directly to the MLB. He was however drafted by the Nippon Ham Fighters and was talked into joining the team. There was probably some under the table persuasion involved. If he were to skip the NPB, he would have had to wait at least 3 years to return to Japan.

          • PX 2 years ago

            absolutely he and his family were coerced to stay in Japan. That is how it works out here.

    • pft2 2 years ago

      Tazawa came as an amateur, others have as well

  12. LordOfTheSwings 2 years ago

    25 million max bid, and the teams that bid but lose out on the player have to pay 7.5% of their bids to the player’s Japenese team.

    That would likely net the Eagles 40 to 55 million, and I’m sure they’d be willing to post him then.

    (Obviously the exact percentage doesn’t have to be 7.5%, I just chose it to be half way between 5 and 10%)

    • RIYankeeGuy 2 years ago

      That’s one of the better suggestions I’ve seen, but it’ll have to wait until after the 2016 season. Just as in CBA agreements between owners and players, I’m sure there’s little opportunity to make any changes now that it’s official.

  13. baycommuter 2 years ago

    This isn’t really fair to the Golden Eagles, but it’s not unprecedented. MLB mostly ignored Negro Leagues contracts, starting with Jackie Robinson, arguing they weren’t legally valid. The owners of those teams basically got their talent taken away for nothing, and of course they went broke as interest declined. You don’t hear too much about this because it served the greater goal of integration, but some of those owners died very bitter.

    • pft2 2 years ago

      Nobody is forcing the Japanese teams to sign the agreement or post players.

      Salaries and revenues are about 1/5 what they are in MLB so 20 million to a Japanese team is like 100 million to a MLB team. The Yen has also depreciated about 25% in recent years which makes 20 million like 25 million a couple of years ago

      Also, I believe it was the Japanese who opted out of the old system due to pressure from their players union. The old system was unfair to the players. So like the Negro League teams profited from segregation, Japanese teams profited from an unfair posting system that treated players like slaves who were sold to the highest bidder and the players owner made out like a bandit. The player had to take what was offered with little choice since he could not negotiate with any other team

      • BeisbolJunkie 2 years ago

        That is the part I did not like about the old system is that the player can only negotiate with 1 team and not have any say who that team is.
        It is very reminiscent of how the slave trade/slave markets operated.

  14. Swarley 2 years ago

    I know he has yet to be posted but Buster Olney just reported that the cubs “are poised to strike big on Tanaka.” They have the pockets to offer him one of the bigger contracts of the 30 teams, it will just depend on if he’s prepared to wait a couple years for the cubs prospects to develop.

  15. slider32 2 years ago

    This means the Dodgers will get Tanaka!

    • Jake 2 years ago

      How do you figure? According to most reports the Dodgers seem not as high on him as other teams.

  16. LEX STEEL 2 years ago

    Come to the Yankees, Tanaka.

  17. Sam Wu 2 years ago

    For 3 years…now it does seem to target Rakuten, no wonder the other 11 NPB clubs agreed to this. The next player with Tanaka’s impact (with maybe the exception of Maeda) definitely won’t be posted in the next 3 years.

  18. Jake 2 years ago

    Come on Golden Eagles…. Let this kid play over here!

  19. Oh my, does anyone know who his agent will be when he is posted? If it’s Scott Boras…we’re all screwed.

  20. Lary Lapczynski 2 years ago

    Surprised they didn’t come up with something more creative. I’d say a 1 to 2% non-refundable fee on the bid. Then maybe a 10% contract fee back to the Japanese team to even out the money a bit, That way each team would have to pay a $200-400 fee on a max $20m bid, The say an extra $8m on an $80million contract. If 10 teams post a max bid on Tanaka – Rakuten would have got $2-4m extra + $8m on the contract (assuming it is $80m). $30-32m is more fair to the Golden Eagles, without majorly punishing the MLB teams. All extra fees would no count to the salary cap.

  21. JacobyWanKenobi 2 years ago

    I’d say that’s a generalization

  22. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

    February 1.

  23. RIYankeeGuy 2 years ago

    I’m also confused as to why NPB agreed to the new pact, especially considering a non-superstar like Ryu still required a posting fee of over 27 million. On the positive, this gives slight opportunity for low budget clubs like the Astros to go broke on their terms.

    It still favors big market teams because 175 million between a posting fee and player contract is still 175 million, no matter how it’s split up, but the shadow posting fee did seem to favor the top 10 payrolls. Most importantly, they got one thing right; The player, not the club earns the money, which will now be reflected in Tanaka’s and future transfers contracts.

  24. AlphaICaesar 2 years ago

    I’m with you here. I don’t understand the incentive for NPB teams to collectively agree to put a cap on the posting fee that they receive.

  25. pft2 2 years ago

    Yeah, but big market teams are more likely to be hamstrung by the LT threshold of 189. The lower posting fee increases the AAV of the player, especially with multiple teams negotiating with the player.

    So a team like the Yankees and Dodgers are probably not able to get in on Tanaka since his AAV will be 18-20 million (20 million posting) compared to 10-12 million under the old system (75 million posting).

  26. RIYankeeGuy 2 years ago

    I think I follow your thought process, but I feel an 18 mil AAV would hamstring a team payroll of only 60-90 million much more so than the Yankees and Dodgers sporting 220+ payrolls.

    The Yankees brought in 570 million in revenue in 2012 according to Bloomsberg and can easily afford a 250 mil (+ 30 mil in LT) payroll without even meeting the 50% recommendation of revenue reinvestment. Yes, the old system would have helped them in their likely abandoned goals of resetting the LT to 17% instead of 50%, but if they want Tanaka, they’re still in a better position than say the Padres or ChiSox.

  27. gnomon 2 years ago

    It sounds like the Sanspo article that was originally reported by the Dodgers’ beat writer Dylan Hernandez. I’ve read the piece too, and it’s basically a bunch of hearsay. No direct quotes from anyone in the Rakuten front office or Tanaka’s camp. I’ll believe it when it comes out of Tanaka’s mouth.

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