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.