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MLB and NPB to Revise the Posting System

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The posting process by which Japanese players can sign with MLB teams has been a hot-button issue over the past few years. Now, it may get a make-over.

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

Nearly every season, a handful of players from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) draw interest from Major League Baseball teams. For a player with less than nine years in the NPB to leave the Japanese league for America he must first be posted and a Major League team must put in a blind bid for the right to negotiate player. This "posting fee" is then paid to player’s NPB team if the American club reaches an agreement. The system has been controversial, with writers, agents and MLB execs regularly criticizing the blind bid posting process. Now, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports the two leagues will revise the method for player exchange and compensation.

The posting system was created to help protect the NPB after Hideo Nomo and Alfonso Soriano left Japan for the major leagues without compensation going to their original clubs. It has been effective in that respect. Under this system, players like Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka have commanded posting fees over $50M in the blind bidding between Major League teams, a huge boon to the NPB.

However, teams and player agents have spoken out against the blind bidding for the right to negotiate a contract. Teams want a clearer idea of the cost for these rights and agents, like Scott Boras, see the high cost of the posting lowering the amount of money available to their Japanese clients. "The system has already failed," Boras says, who represents Matsuzaka, "the system doesn't benefit anyone."

According to Passan, the new posting system will be more open; with teams able to see what other bids are being made. According to his sources, MLB expects a new agreement with the NPB to be in place some time during the 2013 season.

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