Baseball: New posting system for Japanese players

Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:35pm EST
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(Reuters) - Major League Baseball announced major changes to the way its clubs can sign talent from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), capping the "posting" fee at $20 million for any incoming Japanese players.

Previously, NPB teams had taken blind bids from MLB teams on players made available before deciding whether to accept a bid that would allow that MLB team a 30-day window to negotiate a contract with the player.

The new accord will bring more major league teams into competition for incoming Japanese league players and could shift some of the rewards from the NPB clubs to players themselves.

The Texas Rangers offered a record posting fee of over $51 million in 2011 for Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher Yu Darvish, who joined the AL West team after signing a six-year, $60 million deal.

The posting fee for Darvish was slightly higher than one paid by the Red Sox five years earlier for Daisuke Matsuzaka, who signed a six-year deal with Boston for $52 million.

"We are pleased to have amicably reached an agreement that addresses various issues raised by all parties," MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said in a statement.

"Major League Baseball values its longstanding professional relationship with Nippon Professional Baseball, and we look forward to continuing the growth of the great game we share in the years to come."

Highly prized pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, 25, of the Rakuten Golden Eagles may be the first major player affected.

Tanaka, who went 24-0 with Rakuten last season, may hit a bigger-than-expected jackpot due to the new protocols or not be posted this year because of the imposed ceiling.   Continued...

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish pitches against the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Arlington, Texas September 29, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Stone