On the heels of a posting fee maximum agreement, Yozo Tachibana, president of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, told newspapers prized pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, may not be posted after all.
After weeks of negotiation, both American and Japanese professional baseball leagues agreed on a $20 million maximum bid on future players planning to be posted from Japan to MLB.
While preference of teams making maximum bids is still being worked out, the new rules may have already made an impression.
Tanaka, easily the best alternative to a team in need of potential front-line pitching, was projected to earn bids upwards of $50 million and as high as $70 million before the rule change.
Now with the Golden Eagles losing out on potentially $50 million in the bid price, allowing a top flight player at just 25-years-old to jump ship is not as desirable as before.
Tanaka is 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA and is widely considered the best “bang for the buck” for starting pitchers. Since the posting fee does not count towards luxury tax, Tanaka would come with a reasonable contract but the upside of a potential front-end starter and would not cost a team a draft pick.
Teams like the Yankees and Cubs almost certainly would prefer going Tanaka’s route with the former repeatedly being said to consider him their crown jewel of starting pitchers. With Tanaka potentially unavailable, the Yankees’ priority to bring back Hiroki Kuroda for one more season becomes crucial and its ability to have a payroll under $189 million while still building a contending rotation becomes significantly more difficult.
All Japanese teams except Rakuten (11 in total) agreed to the proposed rule change. It would be in both organization’s best interests to resolve matters as quickly as possible since other MLB starting pitchers are likely waiting to see where Tanaka goes before building their own markets this winter.