How new NPB posting agreement affects Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes

Koji Watanabe

If the new posting agreement between MLB and NPB goes live, Masahiro Tanaka's Japanese club might keep him. That would have a huge impact on offseason moves around the league.

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are reportedly close to an agreement on a new posting system that would cap the fee at $20 million, but there is growing concern that the overhaul might result in the Rakuten Golden Eagles declining to post star pitcher Masahiro Tanakaaccording to multiple reports.

Tanaka could be offered a nine-figure contract in addition to the posting fee, which likely wouldn't have been the case under the old system. The proposed agreement would direct more of the money Tanaka's way and less to his NPB club. That might steer teams away from posting their players in the future, an executive of one American League team told Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan.

If Tanaka's club decides to keep him off the market, the impact it would have on the MLB trade market could be huge. Teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, Rangers and others who would  likely be the de facto front-runners on signing Tanaka might instead focus their attention on trying to acquire a pitcher such as the Rays' David Price, who is under team control for two more seasons, or another front-line starter.

Tanaka's potential unavailability may also place a higher premium on starting pitchers such as Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, both of whom remain on the free-agent market.

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