Posted December 17, 2013

Report: Masahiro Tanaka wants MLB move, Japanese team resists

MLB
Masahiro Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.72 ERA last season. (The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)

Masahiro Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season. (The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)

Japanese league pitcher Masahiro Tanaka wants to try his skills against Major League Baseball hitters next season, but his Japanese team reportedly is resisting a new posting system and the move.

MLB’s agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball on a new posting system caps the fee for players at $20 million, less than half of what teams paid for Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Any MLB team willing to meet the maximum bid can attempt to sign a posted player within 30 days and must pay the posting fee only if he’s signed.

While Tanaka said he’s told the Rakuten Eagles that he wants to play in the United States, the team is attempting to convince him to stay.

“I informed my team that I would like them to allow me to test my abilities in Major League Baseball next season,” Tanaka said at a news conference Tuesday after a meeting with Rakuten Eagles president Yozo Tachibana.

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MLB teams covet Tanaka for his 24-0 record and 1.27 ERA last season, but he is can’t make the jump unless the Eagles post him. The Eagles have rejected the new posting terms and want to re-sign Tanaka for next season.

“We told him he is very important to us and we’d like him to stay,” Tachibana said.


6 comments
Delegator
Delegator

The idea behind the new system was to allow more teams to negotiate directly with the player, and reduce the up front posting fee. In this case, the Rakuten Eagles have a choice of getting $20 million for Tanaka this year, or getting a full year of productivity and then getting $20 million next year. So, their position is completely understandable. And so is his -- he would rather get the big payday now, coming off a ridiculously good season, and not risk injury or a a lower contract next year.


The obvious solution: he makes a deal whereby a portion of his MLB contract money will go to the Rakuten Eagles. He gets the big payday (er, I mean gets to "test his skills") this year, the team gets extra money for letting him go early. Win-win.


PS Any bets as to whether "I want to test my skills elsewhere" will replace "It's not about money, it's about respect" as the go-to line for why a player wants to leave a team?

trolljaboy
trolljaboy

Can't he just retired and forfeit his Japanese contract then sign freely with MLB?

MichaelC
MichaelC

You won the Japan Series and posted one of the most ridiculous single-season pitching lines in league history. There's nothing else to prove playing in an inferior league against inferior competition. Jump across the pond. If Rakuten doesn't want to post, then sit out a year. Don't bother adding innings to your arm.

p0rk9er
p0rk9er

MLB teams covet Tanaka for his 24-0 record and 1.27 ERA last season, but he is can’t make the jump unless the Eagles post him.

but he is can't make the jump.

JYM
JYM

@trolljaboy He can't due to the regulations in the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Article 66 says basically that if a player wants to transfer to another country can only do so if released from his association (in this case the NPB). The NPB would not then sign a transfer certificate unless the losing team gets the compensation as per their association's by-laws.  I used to manage baseball in Europe and had similar issues trying to sign international players. If Tanaka's team were to lodge a complaint, then the NPB would block any move and if an MLB team would sign him, he would be ineligible.  

Having said that, I do hope the Eagles let him play in the MLB.