Nippon Professional Baseball is expected to accept Major League Baseball's latest proposal outlining major changes to the posting system that allows contracted players to move from Japan to the States, reports Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Sanspo).
MLB has not heard from NPB officials yet, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, so there's still the possibility that it won't go through. However, Japanese media reports like the one from Sanspo above indicate that officials will agree to implement the newest proposal, which was brought to the table Wednesday morning.
According to Newman (via Joinus), 11 of the 12 NPB clubs have already signed off on the deal. The one club to reportedly decline, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, is coveted right-hander Masahiro Tanaka's team.
Officials from both sides are expected to sit down and formally discuss the proposal on Thursday, per Bill Shaikin of the LA Times.
The new proposal will change several aspects of the posting system, but most important parts are 1) the $20 million posting fee cap, 2) the ability for multiple teams to negotiate with the posted player, and 3) the player's right to make the ultimate decision on which team to join.
In the old system, there was an un-capped blind bidding process that resulted in a single club earning the rights to bid on the posted player. Now, however, the posting fee will be capped at $20 million, and every MLB team will have the opportunity to put in a bid of that amount if they so choose. Once all bids are in, there is a one-month negotiating period in which all clubs who have matched the high bid get to sit down with the player. At the end of that month, per Shaikin, the posted player will choose which contract he wants to take.
The max bid was likely implemented to allow smaller market clubs to have more of a say in the posting system, but the addition of the all-out bidding war sort of negates that idea. Teams like the Astros and A's might now be able to get to the negotiating table with someone like Tanaka, but there's still no way they can compete with the money that the Yankees or Dodgers might offer.
The 25-year-old Tanaka was widely expected to get record money well before the system was altered, so the new process all but confirms he'll eclipse Yu Darvish's six-year, $56 million deal.