Masahiro Tanaka's current team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, have disputed reports that they have decided to keep their highly-coveted ace in 2014, according to MLB.com's C.J. Nitkowski.
Rakuten remains undecided, but has stated that they intend to disclose their resolution on posting Tanaka in the next three to five days. Earlier in the week, rumors began circulating that Rakuten's decision had already been made, claiming the club intended to make a record offer to Tanaka in an effort to keep him in Japan.
The 25-year-old has reportedly told his team that he'd like to "test [his] abilities in Major League Baseball next season."
It's easy to see why.
Even if Rakuten extended the rumored offer of around 800 million yen -- approximately $7.7 million U.S. -- Tanaka would still be losing out on a significant amount of money. Under the new posting system agreement, all 30 major league teams can bid on posted players up to the newly installed $20 million cap. Every team in baseball could end up making that relatively modest offer, since only the winning bid has to actually pay that amount to Rakuten. The record posting fee was the $51.7 million the Rangers paid out to negotiate with Yu Darvish. Tanaka doesn't see any percentage of that $20 million, but once he is posted, he can sell his services to the highest bidder. Early estimates range anywhere from $75 million to over $100 million. Needless to say, Tanaka would be making at least twice as much per season in America.
However, Tanaka's Nippon League club might not feel as though the $20 million they'll get in return for their best player is enough to offset his value, even if they have to double, or triple, his salary to keep him. Some of the early conjecture about the new posting agreement included the sentiment that Rakuten had been "wronged" by the other 11 NPB clubs due to the fact that Tanaka is the most immediate -- and most talented -- player that would be subject to the new limitations.
Unfortunately for Tanaka, his current club could feel the same way, and he could lose a fortune as a result.
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