At this point in the United States Major League Baseball’s (MLB) off-season, Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka is already being considered as the top free-agent pitcher available on the market. There is danger, however, of the former Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher’s inevitable move to the MLB being scuppered as Major league owners are reportedly having trouble agreeing with Nippon Professional Baseball on the compensation system that brings elite players from Japan to the U.S.
Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 27 starts for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, has already been expected to be the most expensive import in NPB-MLB history, eclipsing the salary and posting fee totaling US$111.7 million incurred by the Texas Rangers when they signed Yu Darvish before the 2012 season. Apparently, it is this posting fee system that is causing problems for MLB team owners. There is a new proposal that needs to be agreed upon by everybody – the player’s former team, the Japanese players’ union, the NPB and the MLB team owners alike. This new proposal calls for Japanese players to be auctioned, with the major-league team submitting the top bid gaining the exclusive negotiating rights. The posting fee – that is, the fee paid to a player’s Japanese league team – was to fall between the top bid and the runner-up bid.
Some owners in the MLB are opposing the posting fee system completely, while some of the more financially liquid teams are able to live with it – the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers are among the high rollers who are said to be in the race to bid for Tanaka. Under pressure, the Japanese players’ union had already agreed to the terms of the new proposal earlier today. The union had previously opposed the deal because players couldn’t negotiate with multiple MLB teams. But the progress on the negotiations is slow, and Tanaka’s future is decidedly in limbo.
[via Yahoo Sports]