Major League Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization have agreed to a revised version of the posting system that allows players who are not yet free-agent eligible to move from the KBO to MLB, according to a report from South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. The new agreement runs through Oct. 31, 2021, according to the report.
Under the previous posting system, when a KBO team would post a player for MLB clubs before he reached free agency (which requires nine years in the KBO), they’d inform Major League Baseball of their desire to do so, and all interested teams would submit a blind bid. If the KBO team deemed the bid to be an acceptable number, the highest-bidding MLB team would be granted a 30-day window to negotiate a contract. If the bid was not accepted or agreement on a contract could not be reached, the player returned his KBO team. The MLB team was refunded the amount of its bid.
The new system, however, looks to largely mirror the recently agreed upon posting system between MLB and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, which will go into effect this coming offseason. Once a player is posted, he’ll be free to negotiate with all 30 MLB clubs. The release fee paid to the KBO team that posted the player will now correlate to the size of the contract signed. Specifically:
- If a posted KBO player signs for $25MM or less, the release fee paid to the former KBO team will be 20 percent of the contract’s value.
- If a posted KBO player signs for more than $25MM and less than $50MM, the release fee paid to the former KBO team will be 20 percent of the first $25MM (i.e. $5MM) plus 17.5 percent of any amount over $25MM.
- If a posted KBO player signs for more than $50MM, the release fee paid to the former KBO team will be 20 percent of the first $25MM (i.e. $5MM), 17.5 percent of the next $25MM (i.e. $4.375MM), and 15 percent of any amount over $50MM.
As is the case with the posting arrangement between MLB and NPB, the new KBO posting period will run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 5. (Previously, KBO players could be posted at any point from Nov. 1 to March 1.)
It’s worth noting, of course, that the MLB collective bargaining agreement’s distinctions between amateur and professional players must still be considered. Per the CBA, a player must be at least 25 years of age and have at least six years of experience in a foreign professional league to be considered a professional player. If he meets both criteria, that player is free to sign a Major League deal for any amount and for length of time. If, however, the player is under 25 years of age or has fewer than six years of pro experience in another country, he’ll be limited to signing a minor league contract with a bonus that is taken from his new MLB team’s league-allotted international bonus pool.
Given the fact that most players from the KBO aren’t posted until they’ve spent seven or eight years playing professionally — i.e., when their teams are only a year or two from potentially losing them to free agency — it’s not likely that many players who are considered international amateurs will become available to MLB teams via this revised posting system.