Negotiations regarding a new posting agreement between Major League Baseball and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball have been postponed, according to an announcement from the MLB Player’s Association. While the MLB and NPB seem largely on the same page, the union has the right to authorize any agreement and has engaged on the subject.
It’s a one-day extension at this time, per the MLBPA announcement. Last we heard, the union had set a deadline of 8pm EST today to get something done. With issues still remaining, though, the sides have evidently decided to keep talking for at least another day. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links) reported earlier that there was optimism on a deal, but that some “gaps” still remained.
The news is critical, of course, for the MLB move sought by Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani. For now, he remains in flux, with virtually every major-league organizations watching closely to see if and when he’ll formally be made available.
There appear to be a few areas which the sides need to sort out before we’ll learn Ohtani’s fate. Passan cites some bargaining over the timeline of a MLBPA-proposed window during which NPB teams can make players available for transfer, though that seems to be something where some give-and-take can result in agreement. Jim Allen of Kyodo News, meanwhile, hears of a more fundamental dispute over the question whether posted players can be pulled back if their ultimate contract does not result in a sufficient fee to their NPB club. (Twitter link.) Because the new proposed system would allow the Japanese team to receive a percentage-based fee, rather than the fixed sum that previously was utilized, the question of revocability of posting is of added importance.