From Newsday's David Lennon:
... "Right now, we have to have some further discussion with [Japanese officials] before they're able to accept," Manfred said. "We warned them. We told them if this sat too long, there could be shifting winds out there. Suffice to say, there are shifting winds."
... Now, all bets are off, as the posting system, which expired this year, could wind up dramatically different, and those changes may not be agreed upon in time to allow Tanaka to jump to the majors this winter.
Under Japanese rules, a player needs nine years of service time to become an international free agent, as opposed to only six in the U.S. Once a Japanese player accrues the time, there is no need to be posted, which deprives a Japanese team of any financial compensation for his departure.
That also means MLB teams don't have to pay a posting fee, which they much prefer. Based on what Manfred said Thursday, MLB will likely seek an amended proposal that is even more club-friendly.
Source: Newsday 11/14/2013
From the Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough:
... "I think the concerns with the system is that it was a blind bidding process that led to inflated numbers," Manfred said. "And those inflated numbers make that market unavailable to a broad cross-section of our teams."
Thus, the delay allowed doubt among the owners to fester. Manfred hinted free agency for Japanese players could be an alternative. But no answers will arrive until further negotiations.
Source: Star-Ledger 11/14/2013
From MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom:
... "What I would tell you is that we made a proposal to the Japanese," Manfred said at the end of the year's final quarterly Owners Meetings. "When we made that proposal, we told them it was important that they give us a timely response. Unfortunately, they have not been able to do that."
MLB waited several weeks for approval of its proposal by Japanese baseball officials, but sentiment among a growing number of Major League owners has turned to ending the posting system entirely.
... The Japanese clubs are scheduled to vote on the proposal on Monday, but Manfred said, "We got an e-mail from the Japanese this morning saying they're not in a position to give us a formal response."
Manfred was asked if he's concerned about any time constraints.
"To be honest with you, I'm not," he said. "It isn't acceptable from our perspective. The Japanese players association has an agreement with NPB. At a certain point in time, their players become available via free agency. If that's the way we get Japanese professionals, I think the 30 Major League clubs are prepared to live with that result. So I don't feel a lot of pressure in terms of the time."
Source: MLB.com 11/14/2013
Incidentally, the JPBPA did ask the NPB about shortening the time it takes for players to become free agents. The issue will likely be discussed during a meeting before the end of the year.
In other news...
The Houston Astros are apparently looking into Shunsuke Watanabe, or have at least checked into his scouting report.
Source: Daily Sports 11/15/2013