MLB To Prevent Tanaka From Donating To Old Team

Major League Baseball will make sure Masahiro Tanaka's Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, does not receive more than its $20MM posting fee as a result of Tanaka's departure to the US, Bill Shaikin and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times report. That means that Tanaka cannot donate money to Rakuten.

Rakuten's president, Yozo Tachibana, had previously said that Tanaka intended to give money to Rakuten to improve its stadium. Rakuten has reportedly investigated adding a dome. Tanaka would, according to Tachibana, "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."

Such a donation would violate the agreement between MLB and NPB, which forbids NPB teams from receiving any money beyond a player's posting fee. "We are intent on enforcing all the provisions of the agreement," says MLB spokesperson Pat Courtney.

Full Story | 96 Comments | Categories: Masahiro Tanaka

96 Responses to MLB To Prevent Tanaka From Donating To Old Team Leave a Reply

  1. rootlinuxusr 2 years ago

    **Rakuted** has reportedly investigated adding a dome.

  2. Tj Kobold 2 years ago


    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 2 years ago

      To make sure a team doesn’t say “We’ll only post you for a percentage of your future salary.”

      • gwell55 2 years ago

        The jpn league should just pull back and make MLB wait to get any of their leagues drafted players. After all MLB doesn’t control all the baseball money in the other countries.

        • jtmorgan 2 years ago

          The agreement is only in place really to protect the Japanese teams so nobody does like Nomo did and retire in order to go to the US. The agreement makes it where MLB recognizes the years of team control that the team has. Some teams don’t eve post players and are on record saying they will never, but they only want the agreement to protect their assets.

          • gwell55 2 years ago

            Quote: “The agreement is only in place really to protect the Japanese teams so
            nobody does like Nomo did and retire in order to go to the US”

            Actually this isn’t true as the Protection Japan’s league offers is that NO Player who leaves and signs in another league when a Japan team drafts or signed player may return to Japan and play in their league. Effective ban on them being able to return.

            That is the main deterrent. The real reason that MLB wants this 20M or less is to protect that MLB owners money and assests. The other other reason is to let all teams to be able to try and sign a very good player such as Tanaka.

          • The $20M max bid was largely pushed to protect the smaller markets in MLB (since larger markets typically get every top free agent that is posted just like the regular MLB free agency).

            The posting fee doesn’t count towards the luxury tax, so a team like the Yankees that flirts around the threshold could have blown anyone out of the water to gain exclusive negotiating rights in the previous agreement.

            For example: Rather than a deal like the Rangers where the $51M posting fee (of $111M total) didn’t count against the luxury tax, it will now be capped at $20M. Making the assumption that Darvish was posted under this system and the Rangers spent the same $111M total to get him, $91M would count towards the luxury tax versus the $60M contract that Darvish received.

          • drwheelock 2 years ago

            For the past several months I’ve been thinking “what would stop the Yankees” from contacting the Giants and Tanaka ahead of time enticing them to post him “if” they signed with the Yanks. And the Yanks would make sure somehow money gets trickled back to the Giants.

            This stand MLB is taking to prevent this is to prevent a large market team to overpay ‘again’ for the player with inappropriate kick backs.

            I’m sure Giants wouldn’t have posted Tanaka if they felt MLB would make sure Tanaka or the signing team couldn’t provide add’l kickbacks. It’s sounding like thats what the arrangement could have been to get Giants to say Yes on Posting.

            Just my thoughts. I just don’t trust the Yankees to attempt to pull something like this off, and use their past power and money to undercut all other MLB teams.

            All I am gonna say is that “I smell scrupulous Yankee ‘back door’ activity possibly going on. It sure wouldn’t surprise me one bit!

          • brianc6234 2 years ago

            Or maybe it was the Dodgers who did what you said. They have more money than all of the other teams combined.

          • brianc6234 2 years ago

            The old system was better. Nobody knew what to offer because nobody knew what other teams would offer. Now you offer $20 million and you’re in. But then it most likely becomes the teams with the huge payrolls who will get the players.

          • Not really. The old system was always going to be the large market teams as well, because they had the money to outbid everyone else. Sure, they were blind bids, but large markets always throw larger amounts of money at players because they can take on the greater risk. If both teams value a player at 6 yrs, $60M with a roughly $40-50M bid as the max investment, the larger market team would just make a $60M+ bid to ensure they won it. Smaller market teams would only win when a player is highly undervalued by other teams, or they highly overvalue them.

            In the previous agreement, larger markets could easily outbid other teams on the posting fee and not have that difference in bid be subjected to the luxury tax. Now, with the posting fee the same for everyone, the difference in contracts offered by the big spender will be subject to the luxury tax.

          • KnowledgeDivine 2 years ago

            The Money teams should have that luxury of being able to deal with such , The luxury tax is helping the small teams who some dont even spend the money and still get the draft picks etc. The posting system is a money deal. i also say there should be a lottery in the draft where one of the bigger market teams have a chance to draft in the top ten

          • Grayson Gallegos 2 years ago

            The Mets have the #10 pick in the up coming draft.

          • outlawsundown 2 years ago

            When it comes down to it the guys that really want to go play in the Majors and can make it probably don’t plan on going back to play. I think guys like Darvish are here because they want to compete. Making a bunch of money helps but when it comes down to it I think he wanted a challenge. The threat of not being able to return probably won’t stop the best. In the very least with the posting system teams get something out of it.

          • Leonard Washington 2 years ago

            Actually its doing very little to help MLB teams. See most teams wouldn’t even be involved because the ability to bid an outrageous number was always available. And that bidding money for the negotiation was off the books and didn’t add to the cap. So now not only do big market teams not have that luxury of being able to steal the market but the competition bred by this rule is likely to escalate the players price to a ridiculous level, which will now more than ever effect the cap. So the owners willing to spend have lost the market exclusivity, and will now be taking bigger hits on the cap. So in NO way does this help the big league teams. If ANYTHING it is 100% to the PLAYERS benefit. They get a perfect bidding war to drive up their salary as well as a much larger selection of destinations.

          • brianc6234 2 years ago

            All this new deal does though is help the Yankees and Dodgers to sign Tanaka. They have all the money. It makes it so everyone can talk to the players but it does nothing else.

          • KnowledgeDivine 2 years ago

            The Yankees pay luxury tax to teams that not even spending it . leave some things for the teams that have money who donates to the lesser

        • Pei Kang 2 years ago

          makes me wonder if Japan will slowly stop posting their star players.

          • DunkinDonuts 2 years ago

            I suspect they will still post star players, but with only one year left on the NPB contract, rather than two. Players with multiple MLB suitors will still fetch the maximum bid, and $20M (plus one year of relief from a player’s NPB salary) is a significant amount of money in exchange for surrendering one year of control, particularly in the NPB, where the top salary does not exceed $6M/year.

          • Pei Kang 2 years ago


      • Karkat 2 years ago

        I honestly don’t see the problem with that, but I can see why the MLB wouldn’t like it, I guess.

        • BlueSkyLA
          BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

          It’s called demanding a kickback, the kind of thing you’d only expect from people on the wrong side of the law.

          • Karkat 2 years ago

            It’s a pretty big favor to the player, especially now with the posting fee limit. If two adults (neither of whom are particularly unempowered) agree to mutually-beneficial terms like that, I don’t really see the issue. In the real, non-baseball, non-millionaires world then yes, I can definitely see why such an arrangement would be a problem.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            It’s no favor at all. His team can either abide by the agreement or not post him. Seems this is the exact position being taken by MLB.

          • Karkat 2 years ago

            It’s disingenuous to claim that Rakuten is not doing Tanaka a huge favor by posting him. He’ll end up making more than triple the max 2013 NPB salary next year now.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            No, it’s completely accurate. If they don’t think it’s worth $20m to them to release him from his contract two years early, then they should not do it. They have that choice or abiding by the terms of the agreement between the leagues. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

          • Karkat 2 years ago

            I think that’s an overly-simplistic view of the situation, really.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            Say what you like, it’s still completely accurate.

          • hediouspb 2 years ago

            The complication arises because before the change they intended to post him. After the change it makes no sense to do so. They were stuck between a promise and a huge change in the system that set them back about 40m.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            If it makes no sense to post him, then why are they doing it? They are not stuck at all. The two leagues came to an agreement that explicitly prohibits kickbacks, so it isn’t even a question of whether it might be okay for Tanaka’s team to demand one. Clearly it is not, so I’m not really understanding what part of this is debatable.

          • hediouspb 2 years ago

            they are stuck between a moral decision and a financial decision. they did not believe that the posting system would be altered to this extent when they told the player that he would be posted. the changes make it financially prudent to keep the player for one more year. under the new system it makes no sense to post a player until they have one season left on their contract.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            Don’t forget, this posting agreement was negotiated by the two leagues. If the financial consequences of posting any given player has changed as a result, then the team can and should revaluate their decision. Players in MLB aren’t asked if they want to be traded and they normally can’t get away with demanding one. Posting is really no different. To me the essence of this situation is simple: either they post him and abide by the rules, or they don’t post him.

          • MaineSox 2 years ago

            Eh, you could call it buying your way out of a contract; the team doesn’t have to post the player at all, they own the rights to their services.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            The terms between the two leagues are set. Demanding that a player kick back in order for his team to honor them is borderline at best.

          • MaineSox 2 years ago

            The terms for once a player is posted are set, but MLB has no say in whether teams post the players to begin with, and shouldn’t have any say in teams asking for players to pay to be let out of their contract.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            The first part is right. The second part, wrong. The NPB wants this posting agreement just as much MLB. If any team can detour around the agreement it’s effectively void. Agreements are only useful if both parties abide by them.

        • outlawsundown 2 years ago

          Coercing players into giving a kickback violates the spirit of the agreement and is massively unethical. Not to mention would completely undermine the system. When it comes to players that ultimately are going to get a smaller contract it probably wouldn’t make getting posted worth it.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            It also violates the letter of the agreement. This posting agreement was difficult enough to negotiate, and it expires in only three years. Imagine what would happen in the next round of negotiations if the first posting to be subject to the current rules violates them.

          • Yaow 2 years ago

            Who says that Rakuten is coercing him to donate money for stadium upkeep?

            Tanaka is going to be an extremely rich man soon. And I’m assuming that he has a fondness for his former club.

            Maybe he truly wants to help them with a donation.

            Either way, if that’s the case, I’m sure they can find a way around MLB for Tanaka’s donation to help improve their stadium.

            I see what everyone is saying with clubs being dastardly in their intentions, but, if I had a fondness for my homeland, my former club and my country, and I was about to get PAID, I wouldn’t have a problem with a “donation” either.

  3. Guest 2 years ago

    Well lets do the thing someone suggested where the team that wins Tanaka has to buy a scrub player from the Eagles also, so they get 40 million instead of 20 million

    • pastlives 2 years ago

      lol i assume you’re joking, and not missing the giant flaw in that plan

  4. pft2 2 years ago

    I figured that Rakuten was shaking down Tanaka which was what the whole delay was about. However, I am pretty sure there are ways for Tanaka to donate the money through a 3rd party, and you don’t want to mess with the Amazon of Japan.

  5. Guest 2 years ago

    Eagles should pull back from posting Tanaka then, just say something about his physical is bad

  6. Jeff Scott 2 years ago

    Not surprised that this is coming up, nor that MLB doesn’t like it, others floated a solution like this when they thought his team wouldn’t post him. But how long will MLB actually/legally maintain the authority to block that? Some guys want to give back. If he still wants to donate some money, say, 10 years down the road, it’s hard to imagine MLB would have the authority to block that.

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

      Exactly. Requiring him to kickback is one thing, but ultimately the money belongs to the player.

  7. Jerry Mandering 2 years ago

    So wait, they want Tanaka to “donate” money for stadium improvements because the Rakuten owner is too cheap to pay for it himself? That’s some Yakuza nonsense right there.

    • gwell55 2 years ago

      Or they just keep his rights that they still own for 2 more years … you know like the players that MLB own the rights to till they finish arbitration. .

    • Jeff Scott 2 years ago

      It’s not clear whether his team is demanding any money from him to post. He doesn’t have to do it, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Tanaka offered to do that as an unofficial incentive. When they first promised to post him they thought they were looking at $50mil+ for him. When you’re going to be limited to 40% of what you thought having second thoughts about it doesn’t make them “cheap”. The circumstances changed in a major way.

      • pft2 2 years ago

        It’s called extortion. Rakuten likely said if you don’t agree we won’t post you. They haggled for a couple of weeks on how much, and then the deal was done.

        • Jeff Scott 2 years ago

          Yeah, if that’s how it went down it certainly would be extortion. I’m not saying that’s impossible. I’m saying that right now there is no proof whatsoever that extortion is happening here, you can’t just assume he is being coerced, there’s no evidence of a *demand* that he agree to give x as a condition of being posted. They have posted him which means he is a free man. Even if they did work out something like that in a back room, Tanaka would still be free to turn his back on them because legally they can’t compel him to do anything once he signs a deal.

          • East Coast Bias 2 years ago

            That’s not extortion. It’s negotiation.

        • beisbolista 2 years ago

          Extortion????? Seriously? It’s called inducement… Bargaining… Business. Under your strange definition of extortion, every business deal involving an individual would be illegal coercion

    • paul holmes 2 years ago

      MLB owners are far wealthier than the Rakuten owner. I mean Tanaka would have earned 8 million if he stayed in Japan, compared to 100+ million in the US.

      • pft2 2 years ago

        Japanese teams are owned by huge conglomerates who own the teams to promote their business. Rakutens owner is the Amazon of Japan. The companies revenues are around 5 billion with over 10,000 employees worldwide. MLB as a whole has revenues under 7 billion. The team is a plaything for them

    • kungfucampby 2 years ago

      Yeah, what gives, why don’t they get the taxpayers to fund stadiums instead?!

    • hediouspb 2 years ago

      Were not dealing with the kind of money MLB has. Tanaka will be paid more this year than the whole team he’s leaving. Donating to them would be much like giving back to your college after making it big.

    • Matt Waldinger 2 years ago

      Exactly. There’s no way any amount Tanaka would donate could exceed an amount the owner couldn’t already afford. If Tanaka wants to donate to his old team after his playing career, then that’s a decision he can make.

  8. edwing 2 years ago

    Hm.. If its a donation, I think it’s bogus. But if its a forced “donation” then I think it’s also bogus… but in an entirely different way.

  9. cscd1111 2 years ago

    MLB can not tell players how to spend their money.

    • pft2 2 years ago

      No, but they could pull out of the agreement and just sign any Japanese player who wants to come to the MLB regardless of their NPB obligations, making any Japanese player not under contract a free agent. Not good for the NPB.

      There are many ways for Tanaka to pay the exit fee that MLB could not trace to Rakuten the team. I don’t think MLB really cares about this if its kept quiet so they are basically telling Rakuten to keep any such deals secrets. .

      • NL_East_Rivalry 2 years ago

        Not sure how thorough they will be, but it will become oddly suspicious if they build a dome soon after saying they didn’t have the money for it.

        I understand they do have the money for it if they really wanted, but still suspicious.

  10. neurogame 2 years ago

    After Yozo Tachibana delighted the media with news that his prized young pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, would cooperate and donate money to improve the environment for players and fans, he retired to his home, pulled a fake book in his library which opened up a secret wall in his study. A tired, weary and dust-covered Japanese family squinted at the modicum of sunlight that gleaned in their eyes. Tachibana sternly nodded to the eldest man of the group and said, “As soon as your son donates his share, you are free to go.”

  11. paul holmes 2 years ago

    There’s had to be an exception made to the Rakuten Eagles, since their very stadium was most severely damaged by the Fukushima Earthquake. I couldn’t even imagine how the rest of the area has held up, there’s so much that needs to be rebuilt after the 9.1 earthquake and tsunami. A player should be able to do whatever he wants with his money.

    • Croagnut 2 years ago

      He should be able to. But he shouldn’t be made to by his former employer. If its all about the tsunami and quake, how about donating directly to those causes, not back to his former employer who may/may not do something.

    • pft2 2 years ago

      The player can. MLB is taking no action against Tanaka. If he wants to give the money to a company with 5 billion in earnings he can, or he can donate to a local charity for the homeless. He obviously has been forced into this deal in order to get posted.

      • beisbolista 2 years ago

        He hasn’t been “forced” into anything. Let’s put this back into perspective here. Tanaka is not entitled to be posted. If Tanaka made a deal to induce Rakuten to post him, that is not coercive on the part of either party

        • BlueSkyLA
          BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

          It would violate the explicit terms of the agreement between MLB and NPB.

          • beisbolista 2 years ago

            That is probably true, but it does not undermine my point. The Golden Eagles had the right to simply not post Tanaka. If Tanaka was proposed an arrangement to post, even if it was in violation of the agreement, it does not mean Tanaka was coerced or forced into anything. He jumped at the opportunity to be posted. Period.

    • beisbolista 2 years ago

      The exception that should be made is that a player should be able to spend his money exactly how he wants to, and MLB should mind its own business and stop playing world police

  12. bernbabybern 2 years ago

    Ha, good luck with that.

  13. asdf asdf 2 years ago

    $20mil isn’t enough to make improvements to the stadium? It’s no $50mil that the Fighters got for Darvish, but it’s still $20mil.

    • paul holmes 2 years ago

      The stadium hasn’t been in used since the earthquake, and this was before Tanaka was ever posted, so I’m pretty sure the damage must have been substantial. The whole area was hit with at least 10-100 billion in damages (I’m not sure how to quantify in dollars, the cost of having an entire city flooded), I’m sure the people would want as much as they could get.

      • Daniel Franklin 2 years ago

        Essentially divide the amount of Yen by 100 and you get dollars. Sure the exchange rate fluctuates, but it’s close to that rate most of the time. Current rate is 105.14 yen = $1

  14. AmericanMovieFan 2 years ago

    Seems like it’ll be hard to prove that Tanaka is getting pressure from the Golden Eagles to give them loyalty money for jumping ship, but I think the MLB is showing tough love towards Tanaka by banning any “donation” as it’d be an obvious ploy to get more than the original posting fee.

    • Jeff Scott 2 years ago

      They don’t want to set a bad financial precedent now because hes the first player to do this and it’s so high profile, that’s probably part of it too. I think they are more focused on defending a system mechanism dozens of players will go through. They are trying to close a loophole.

      • AmericanMovieFan 2 years ago

        I admit it makes it way too cheap for MLB teams to abuse the Japanee majors as a more expensive version of a farm system, but it’s kind of impossible to convince all these Japanese players to not get themselves posted when the RECORD price in Japan is less than $8MM and a mediocre MLB player can make that kind of money in their second or third round of arbitration.

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

      The posting agreement between the two leagues explicitly prohibits kickbacks.

  15. northsfbay 2 years ago

    The article said that a Japanese player giving a donation to their former team is a violation to the agreement between the MLB and the NPB. You don’t want a Japanese player having to give a kickback to get posted.

  16. Kadoc 2 years ago

    This new agreement, made in a hurry, is so flawed… Pathetic. Next time, think before acting.

    • hediouspb 2 years ago

      It is not flawed. It does exactly what they intended it to do. With this in place no player believes that they will be posted till they have one year left. Tanaka was the one big player who was going under the old rules but should have been kept under the new ones.

  17. livingpaint 2 years ago

    Really though, instead of doing it out in the open like he announced, why not get paid and then make a donation at a charity or park ceremony day? They can’t stop anyone from using their own money to give to charity. Heck, I’d start a US based non profit for him and send a generous check to the Rakuten Eagles.

    • BadBJay 2 years ago

      I wouldn’t call the Rakuten Eagles a “charity.” How much money can Tanaka send them towards a dome???

    • pft2 2 years ago

      Its not about stopping Tanaka from giving, its about stopping Rakuten from accepting. There is no way to do either thing, and MLB knows it. Their message is simply to make these deals in secret and keep them secret.
      Their only leverage is to back out of the posting agreement due to a breach of the agreement by Rakuten. That will be enough to get Rakuten to tone it down due to pressure from other NPB teams who want to keep the agreement.
      On second thought, maybe they want MLB to back out of the deal since they don’t like the new one too much.

  18. Lefty_Orioles_Fan
    Lefty_Orioles_Fan 2 years ago

    MLB To Prevent Tanaka From Donating To Old Team
    I am curious how the MLB will do this, the MLB still finds or catches players using steroids. They can’t prevent players from cheating, so how are they going to prevent Tanaka from sending money back to his old team?
    I mean is Selig going to place a tracking device on every dollar in Tanaka’s wallet or bank account? I mean seriously!

  19. Flharfh 2 years ago

    The whole idea of an individual “donating” to a for-profit business is exceedingly fishy. Everyone knows this is Rakuten trying to get around an agreement NPB made, and the ink is barely dry on it to boot.

  20. PRGIII 2 years ago

    MLB makes their lions share of money. Who cares if anyone donates back, they will pillage Japan again for talent

  21. SluggerBro 2 years ago

    But what about when MLB paid a criminal Tony Bosch for documents in cash? That’s fine for Selig to do I guess.

  22. feztonio 2 years ago

    and what about an MLB team agreeing to post-fee another 20 million on a second Rakuten scrub, then signing him for an above-slot type deal in order to circumvent the rules? maybe the 2nd player is rep’d by Tanaka’s agent so the agent cashes in, Rakuten cashes in and the MLB team in this example gets the player they want and flaunts the rules to do so.

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

      My guess is, if you thought of this evasion, then MLB did as well, and the rules prohibit it.

    • Meh Sheep 2 years ago

      What incentive would an MLB team have for doing that? The player is the one with the option of declining the contract after being posted not the posting team.

  23. Joe Valenti 2 years ago

    I understand that the MLB wants to protect players from being forced into agreements with teams but this seems unfortunate (yet probably necessary). It’s not like Tanaka is just blindly handing Rakuten money. It sounds like he has specific things that he has in mind that he would like the money to go to that would benefit the players and fans. I have no issue with a player giving back to the fans through his old organization, or trying to improve conditions for his former teammates and peers

  24. Scott Krouse 2 years ago

    Coming soon: In a totally unrelated move, the Yankees have agreed to buy a 1% stake in the Rakuten team for $50 million…

  25. pft2 2 years ago

    Maybe Tanaka could avoid the tax issue by setting up a foundation and calling the donation a charitable donation. It would be donated to a team hit hard by the earthquake/tsunami to improve a stadium that was damaged, so I would imagine it would qualify as charity, if not in the US then in Japan. His US taxes will likely offset some part of his Japanese tax obligation due to a tax treaty so hard to say what Tanaka pays, and in any case, he likely has considered the overall costs before agreeing ..

    Hard to say if Rakuten would have any tax burden in receiving the donation. Not sure Rosenthal is familiar with Japanese tax laws or if Rakuten has any losses to carry forward, or if they are even profitable. Corporations dont pay income tax, just profit tax. Owned by a 5 billion a year company they have a team of lawyers who would seek the most efficient way to handle the donation.

    In any even, even if it is less efficient, its not like MLB has left them any choice. Tanaka and Rakuten can easily bypass MLB scrutiny by going through 3rd parties.

    I often wondered if Daisuke shook down Seibu when Seibu got a 50 million dollar posting fee and left Daisuke with only 53 million in salary. Perhaps he threatened to return to Seibu unless they gave him a piece of the posting pie. Tables are turned now.

  26. Robb Logan 2 years ago

    This is pointless by MLB. A player has the right to do with HIS cash he is paid as the player deems fit. It matters not to me as a fan if he helps an old team or a cancer research foundation. His cash his choice.

  27. Tko11 2 years ago

    He’s worth 7.7M in Japan because no other team will pay him more over there. He would have been the highest paid player in their league history. 20M is low but they agreed to it so now they (the NPB teams) have to deal with it.

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