9:53pm: Jim Allen of the Kyodo News hears that the current expectation is that Ohtani will formally be posted on Dec. 2 (Twitter link). That’d give teams until Dec. 23 to strike a deal with Ohtani, based on the three-week window reported by Sherman.
5:40pm: After a lengthy negotiation period, Major League Baseball, the players’ union and Nippon Professional Baseball have reached a “tentative” agreement on a new posting system that will include this offseason and continue on into the next three offseasons, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).
The agreement still must be ratified by the ownership of all 30 Major League teams, which won’t happen until next Friday according to Sherman. As such, the earliest that Shohei Ohtani can formally be posted for clubs will be next Friday — Dec. 1. Submarine righty Kazuhisa Makita has also requested that the Seibu Lions post him and is likely to be made available to MLB clubs by the new posting system as well.
MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the rules of the previous posting system will apply for this offseason (and Ohtani and Makita). In other words, the Fighters will set the maximum $20MM posting fee for Ohtani, and any club that is willing to meet that release fee will be able to negotiate with Ohtani and his reps at CAA.
Sherman tweets that the union pushed for a shorter negotiation window for Ohtani this offseason, to which NPB consented, so teams will have 21 days to work out a deal, though Ohtani will be considered an international amateur and thus be subject to international bonus pools. The Rangers ($3.535MM) have a slight edge over the Yankees ($3.5MM) for the largest pool, followed by the Twins ($3.245MM).
Previous reports have suggested that the three sides have been brokering a system in which the NPB team that posts a player will receive a sum that is equal to a percentage of the posted player’s contract with a new team. Sticking points in negotiations have included the date range from which NPB players can be posted — the MLBPA has been pushing for a brief posting window early in the offseason so as not to impede domestic free agency — as well as the possibility of the NPB team being able to pull the player back if it is not satisfied with the contract he signs.
According to Sherman, the new posting system will not have a pullback feature. Rather, NPB agreed to scrap that feature in favor of a graduated rate of return based on the overall size of the player’s contract. The scale is as follows, per Sherman:
- For a Major League contract of $25MM or less, an NPB club would receive a sum equal to 20 percent of the contract’s total value.
- For a Major League contract of $25-50MM, an NPB club would receive a sum equal to 17.5 percent of the contract’s total value.
- For a Major League contract of $50MM or more, an NPB club would receive a sum equal to 15 percent of the contract’s total value.
That creates some interesting scenarios, as it would actually be of greater benefit for an NPB club to see its former player sign for $24.5MM than $27MM and more beneficial for a former player to sign for $49.5MM than for $57MM. Beginning next offseason, NPB clubs will have from Nov. 1 through Dec. 5 to formally post a player, and negotiation windows will last for 30 days, Sherman further tweets.
The most important takeaway from the tentative agreement, obviously, is that it now seems clear Ohtani will indeed be posted and thus made available to big league clubs. The further delay in his formal posting means that Ohtani could continue to further delay the development of the market for more expensive arms on the domestic free-agent market, but tonight’s agreement at least gets the ball rolling toward some resolution on the most intriguing international free agent in recent history.