Rakuten Golden Eagles May Not Post Masahiro Tanaka

SUNDAY: Tachibana is quoted by Jiji Press (in Japanese) as saying he will likely post Tanaka if the prize right-hander wants to play MLB (h/t Ben Badler of Baseball America).

SATURDAY: Rakuten is "really balking at the $20MM posting fee," tweets Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. A club executive indicated that the club plans to discuss the posting issue with Tanaka by next Tuesday, and says that "asking [Tanaka] to stick around will be the priority," according to a Yahoo! Japan article (in Japanese; quote via Newman).

THURSDAY: Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana addressed the Japanese media today and indicated that the team may not necessarily post Masahiro Tanaka in light of the new posting system's $20MM maximum bid, according to a report from Sponichi (Japanese link). Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times elaborates in his most recent article and offers translated quotes from Tachibana.

"There's a possibility we won't take the next step," said Tachibana. As Newsday's David Lennon noted on Twitter today, the Golden Eagles may think that retaining Tanaka is more valuable than the $20MM maximum posting fee, which is a mere fraction of the $75MM+ posting fee that was rumored under the old system.

Hernandez notes that the Golden Eagles will be under "immense public pressure" to post Tanaka despite the new rules. That wouldn't guarantee anything, however. Tanaka failing to hit the market after this long, drawn out process would be a major impact to interested teams who are now dreaming of their increased chances to land the highly touted ace. The Yankees have been prioritizing Tanaka but would have to turn elsewhere to fill out a rotation in need of a significant boost.

Should Tanaka stay in Japan, the cases for Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez would only be strengthened, as their primary competition would be off the market.

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