MLB and NPB have agreed on a basic framework for a reformed posting system, according to the Japan Times. The new system will cap posting fees at $20 million and pave the way for Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka to move state-side.
As of yesterday, Tanaka's team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, were the only NPB team that had not signed off on the new deal. Presumably, they were hoping to extract more than $20 million in a posting fee for their superstar ace. But it seems they have ultimately signed off on the deal, removing the last significant road block to Tanaka's move to the Major Leagues.
Tanaka, just 25 years old, posted his best season yet in NPB in 2013, throwing 212 innings with a 1.27 ERA. He won 24 games without a loss. He has proven himself as one of the elite pitchers in the world over seven seasons with the Eagles and seems eager to make the leap to the MLB like so many Japanese aces before him. Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka both earned their NPB teams posting fees north of $50 million, but the new parameters agreed to by MLB and NPB will make Tanaka more affordable for more major league teams.
In the event that multiple teams place the maximum $20 million bid for a player like Tanaka, which seems inevitable, the player himself will have the freedom to negotiate with any team that posts the maximum bid. This is a key departure from the previous agreement, in which the player was forced to negotiate with the highest bidder and so had little leverage. The new deal means less money to the NPB posting team and more money to the player, which is precisely what MLB wanted.