UPDATE: While an agreement looked to be imminent, NPB has balked at MLB’s proposal and things appear to be at an impasse at this time. MLB COO Rob Manfred spoke at the end of the GM and Owners meetings this week and indicated that MLB is tired of waiting for a response to their proposal and the situation is now in limbo.
The system of Japanese players moving to MLB through the “posting” process is in a state of flux at the moment as MLB has terminated the current agreement and has submitted a new proposal to Japanese officials. This, of course, greatly affects one of this year’s hottest offseason targets, pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
The MLB.com article linked above by Barry M. Bloom recaps the history of the posting process and you can get all the details from my post in the Terms and Rules section.
Ken Davidoff reported in the New York Post on Tuesday that a deal was near between MLB and Japan. He explained that under the new agreement, while the highest-bidding team still wins the rights to the posted player, the posting fee will now be the average of the two top bids. Also, if the MLB club with the winning bid fails to sign a player during the exclusive negotiating period, the club will be fined by MLB.
Today, the Japan Times is reporting that the Japanese players have agreed to the new proposal and an article for the revision will be created that a Nippon Professional Baseball Committee will approve on Monday.
It appears that this change is going to happen shortly and that the Japanese side won’t gain much, if anything, through these revisions. Unless the average-of-two-highest-bids formula spawns escalated bidding amounts because MLB clubs know that the final total will be brought down by the second-highest bid. We should find out soon as Tanaka is on the radar of several big-spending MLB clubs.