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NPB Free Agency System Explained

by on Nov.18, 2009 @ 12:19 am, under NPB

First of all, for those interested in the actual text, you can find it at the Japan Pro Baseball Players' Association website.  Here's a direct link to the PDF file.

If anyone notices an error in my understanding of the system, please be sure to let me know by posting a comment down below.

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There are currently two systems for free agency:

Players drafted prior to 2007

Domestic - 8 seasons
International - 9 seasons

Players drafted in 2007 and beyond

Domestic - 7 seasons
International - 9 seasons

Players that have exercised their options once before have a different set of rules to abide by.

Domestic / International - 4 seasons

In addition, one season is equal to 145 days on the active roster.  In the end, it's ultimately the total number of days that will determine the number of seasons -- for domestic, it would be 1,160 days (8 seasons) or 1,015 days (7 seasons).

If a player decides they want to exercise their FA options, they must file within 7 days, starting on the day after the Nippon Series (not including weekends and holidays).

For 2009, the Nippon Series ended on 11/7.  The following day was a Sunday.  Skipping weekends puts the FA cutoff at 11/17.

Free agent players can not sign contracts that are more than the salary they made in the past season, unless they receive consent from the Commissioner's office.

Free agent players are ranked at the end of the season based on team salaries.  The rankings do not include foreign players, even if they have met the requirements to be treated as Japanese players on the roster.

The following system is used to determine rankings:

A rank - top 3 in team salary
B rank - top 4-10 in team salary
C rank - the rest

A player's rank helps determine the compensation the team losing the player is to receive from the team that is signing the player.

Free agent players are then split into two groups: first time free agents and repeat free agents.

First time free agents:

Rank A Players

A player not on the protected list and 50% of the player's salary; or

80% of the player's salary.

Rank B Players

A player not on the protected list and 40% of the player's salary; or

60% of the player's salary.

Rank C Players

Nothing

Repeat free agents:

Rank A Players

A player not on the protected list and 25% of the player's salary; or

40% of the players' salary.

Rank B Players

A player not on the protected list and 20% of the player's salary;

or 30% of the player's salary.

Rank C Players

Nothing

Each club is allowed to sign 2 free agents, except under the following exceptions:

21-30 players become free agents - up to three players
31-40 players become free agents - up to four players
41 or more players become free agents - up to 5 players

There is no limit placed on C rank players

Finally, any player that exercises their domestic FA option can not be posted until the time they would have earned their international FA option, had they not exercised their domestic FA option.

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