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Japanase League officials will accept new posting system offer

An agreement on a new posting system allowing a more open market for NPB players is nearing completion.

Koji Watanabe

Officials from Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league are expected to agree to a new posting system for NPB players signing with Major League Baseball clubs, according to a report from Patrick Newman of taken from Japanese site

Newman says the new system will impose a $20 million cap on posting fees and other new rules. It appears that the new posting system will still allow teams to make silent bids for players, but a maximum bid of $20 million will be set for all postings. If more than one team bids the maximum, all the teams with the $20 million bid will then have one month to negotiate with the posted player, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Top NPB players like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish have commanded posting fees in excess of $50 million in the past, but with the former system limiting their market to the bid winner, they have had a difficult time getting deals comparable to similar unrestricted free agents. This new system should help such elite players field better offers, while limiting the cost to teams by capping the posting fee. Both points have appeared to be motivating factors in MLB's quest to change the system. The league has also hoped to have more of the cost paid for NPB players applied to team's luxury tax rates. While such a change would require an amendment to the collective bargaining agreement, making it essentially impossible to enact immediately, this new system limits the advantage rich teams can wield by posting a highest bid and ensures that the majority of the money spent on Japanese players is in the contract with the player which is subject to the luxury tax.

There is still no word as to when the agreement will be enacted, but if Newman's report is correct, it should happen soon. A new deal on the posting system would allow Rakuten Golden Eagles star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to become the first player posted through the new agreement. Tanaka is expected to be posted this winter and may be considered the top free agent pitcher on the market once he is. He is expected to attract interest from a number of teams including the Yankees, Dodgers and Angels, once he is posted