MLB and Japanese League execs closing in on a posting system agreement

Koji Watanabe

Negotiations over a new posting system for Nippon Professional Baseball Players heading to MLB are drawing to a close.

The ongoing talks over revising the system by which Japan's NBP players are made available to MLB teams have produced three possible deals between the two leagues and one should be adopted soon, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times. With an agreement in place, teams will finally be able to bid on pitcher Masahiro Tanaka of the Rakuten Golden Eagles who may be the top pitching option on the market this off-season.

The system previously in place allowed players under contract with NPB clubs to request posting and if the request was granted, MLB teams were allowed to bid in a silent auction for the exclusive right to negotiate with the player. The winning bid was then paid to the posting NPB team once a deal between the player and their new American club was reached.

The system has come under criticism for agents like Scott Boras who represented pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka because the exclusive negotiating rights, along with the high price of the bids has limited the amount the players make in these deals compared to their free market value. MLB has taken up the cause of refining the system because teams have become disenchanted with the high cost of the winning bids. In the 2007 off-season, the Red Sox bid $51.1 million for the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka, and prior to the 2012 season, the Rangers bid a record $51.7 million for Yu Darvish.

Last week, Ben Balder of Baseball America reported hat a new deal was "in limbo." According to Badler, MLB was looking to lower the posting fees by having teams pay the average of the two highest bids. There is no word yet on the specifics of any of the deal proposals currently under consideration, but it appears that a lower cost for MLB teams is likely to be a part of the new system.

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