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[11/10/2013] NY Post: MLB informs teams they cannot contact organizations and players in Japan

by on Nov.10, 2013 @ 10:43 pm, under MLB

From the New York Post's George A. King III:

Major League Baseball sent all teams a letter this week instructing them to avoid talking to clubs and players in Japan until a new posting agreement is finalized.

According to a person who saw the letter, an agreement could be "several weeks" away as MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball continue to negotiate changes to the process.

... One sticking point is MLB teams face a possible cost of $120 million to land Tanaka. Teams in Japan use the posting process for much needed money, but if the total outlay for a MLB team rises too high MLB teams simply might wait for the player to become a free agent. Then the player’s team in Japan would receive nothing when he leaves.

Also being discussed is whether to allow the player to have more say in what team he negotiates with instead of being limited to the winning bidder.

Source: New York Post 11/7/2013

On somewhat of a side note, ZakZak recently posted an article that mentions how the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (JPBPA) might be holding out on the new posting agreement in return for changing the free agency rules from the current eight years domestic/nine years international to a flat seven years domestic and international.

Additionally, there are a couple of interesting rumors surrounding the Rakuten Eagles and Masahiro Tanaka.  Team president Yozo Tachibana is reportedly ok with posting Tanaka, but team owner Hiroshi Mikitani is not.  It would look bad for Tachibana to turn back on his word now, but he also cannot go against the owner's demands.  As a result, two factions may have popped up within the organization: one group, perhaps led by Tachibana, might be in full support of the players association getting the free agency rules changed to seven years, which could in turn give Tanaka an option either this year or next and might be enough for him to quietly give up on posting this year, and therefore save Tachibana from having to back down on his word (this was Tanaka's seventh season, but he did miss some time over the years with injuries so he may not have enough service time, but there are also other things to consider, such as whether or not any changed rules would apply to current players, or only to players that turn pro this year); and a second group, perhaps led by Mikitani, that might be secretly applying pressure on the NPB to delay negotiations on the new posting agreement to make it impossible for Tanaka to post this year and allow Mikitani to hold on to Tanaka without making him or the organization look bad.

Again, just rumors though.

Source: ZakZak 11/8/2013

And while we're on the topic of Tanaka:

Sponichi asked 100 people visiting the Eagles' team store in Sendai Station if they wanted to see Tanaka pitch in the Majors or stay in Sendai.  Fifty-four said they were fine with him going and forty-six said they wanted him to stay.  Additionally, of the forty-six that said they wanted him to stay, seven said they would be ok with him leaving if he remained in Sendai for just one more year.

Source: Sponichi 11/5/2013

And some Hisashi Iwakuma quotes on Tanaka:

On Tanaka making it to the Majors: I think he can succeed.  So long as he has strong feelings when facing Major League batters, he should do fine.

On Tanaka's thirty-game winning streak: It is in the realm of the Gods.  Tanaka has a strong sense of responsibility and he got the job done on the mound.  I really think it is amazing.

On Tanaka's pitches: Japanese pitchers are special.  They have the kind of movement and control other pitchers do not have and that becomes a very important thing. ... Myself and Uehara use the splitter to get hitters to get themselves out.  With regards to Tanaka, all of his pitches should translate well.

On Tanaka wanting to play in the Majors: Not everyone can experience playing in the Majors and the NPB.  Aiming for your goals is a good thing.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/5/2013