Posting agreement discussions are ongoing -- the first day was on the 26th and will continue to the 27th. NPB general secretary Atsushi Ihara told reporters that talks after the first day were between difficult and going well. He also said he felt it would be best if current discussions in New York led to resolution.
Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi also posted a few bits about what the MLB might be pushing. A snip:
... With talks resuming this week, the MLB commissioner's office could choose to exercise its considerable leverage by negotiating the price point downward. If the figure was 50 percent in the last proposal, MLB can declare the negotiation a success if the Japanese club's take ultimately drops to 40 or 30 percent.
The union for Japanese players would like Tanaka -- and others -- to have the ability to choose among the top two or three bidders. Over time, though, the JPBPA has been reluctant to strike or take legal action in order to obtain that right.
"Striking is too traumatic -- they did it once -- and court takes too long," said Robert Whiting, an author and expert on Japanese baseball. MLB and NPB know this and can exploit the JPBPA's reluctance to use those forms of leverage.
Similarly, MLB has a better bargaining position than NPB. Clubs such as Rakuten know their superstar players are likely to sign with MLB clubs once they become international free agents. (For Tanaka, that would happen after two more seasons.) The posting system is a very lucrative way for NPB teams to be compensated for losing their superstars; the Japanese teams don’t want to lose that windfall.
Source: Fox Sports 11/20/2013
Tsuyoshi Wada is set on playing in the Majors next season and is not ready to return to Japan. Daily Sports has heard that he has already turned away a number of NPB teams.
Source: Daily Sports 11/27/2013
Hideo Nomo has made it onto the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot. He is the first Japanese player to make it onto the list.
Source: official announcement
Nobuhisa Ito, head of the NPB's legal department, is scheduled to fly out to the United States to continue negotiations on the new posting system agreement. Ito could leave for the States as early as the 26th. The two sides could come to some sort of an agreement by Thanksgiving Day.
Tomokazu Oka (37) attended a tryout in Arizona in late-October. A number of MLB teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, are interested in the veteran pitcher.
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/23/2013
The Baltimore Orioles will not attempt to re-sign Tsuyoshi Wada. From MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko:
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette confirmed today that the club won't attempt to re-sign free-agent pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada after declining to pick up his $5 million option for 2014.
... The Orioles chose not to recall Wada as rosters expanded in September, mostly because they didn't want to experiment with him while in a pennant race.
Duquette had indicated that the Orioles would attempt to re-sign Wada at a reduced rate, perhaps hoping that he'd accept a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, but it's not going to happen. Apparently, the Orioles didn't attempt to negotiate with him.
"I think that the Wada chapter is over with the Orioles," Duquette said. "We're just going in another direction."
Source: MASN Sports 11/21/2013
The latest on Yu Darvish's back, from MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan:
... Darvish, who finished this past season experiencing inflammation in his lower back, was examined by Dr. Drew Dossett this week while in Texas and underwent an MRI. The results showed that the inflammation from the nerve irritation has subsided.
Darvish will continue with his conditioning program and be able to go through his normal offseason throwing program without any issues. He will work out in Texas for the next few days before returning to Japan.
Source: MLB.com 11/21/2013
Koji Uehara returned to Japan today. He rested for about two weeks after the end of the season before resuming workouts about a week ago.
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/21/2013
MLB Japan held an event at Ishinomaki General Sports Park today. Hisashi Iwakuma was a special guest.
Source: press release
According to Daily Sports, former NPB players Wei-Chu Lin (34, Hanshin), Ikketsu Sho (27, Hanshin and Softbank), Ming-Chieh Hsu (36, Seibu and Orix), Kai-Wen Cheng (25, Hanshin and Yokohama), and Yi-Hao Lin (22, Yomiuri) are set to continue their careers in the Chinese Professional Baseball League.
Source: Daily Sports 11/23/2013
The NPB held an executive committee meeting in Tokyo on Monday and decided that they will contact the MLB with hopes to resume talks on the new posting system agreement.
During the meeting, the person in charge of negotiations with the MLB provided the committee with an explanation of what happened over the course of the last few weeks. The NPB is interested in resuming discussions with the MLB. As they understand it, the MLB is working on a new proposal that could take several weeks to create.
The MLB and NPB were close to finalizing a new posting agreement when the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (JPBPA) made it know that they were unhappy with the new rules because it offered little to both the players and teams. After discussions between the respective groups in Japan took place, the players association halfheartedly accepted the terms over a limited period of two years. Shortly thereafter, the MLB announced they were taking the deal off the table because the NPB was taking too long to make a decision and the "shifting winds" (dissent among small-market teams) were growing too strong.
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/18/2013
According to this tweet by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Los Angeles Dodgers are not interested in Hiroki Kuroda:
#Dodgers prefer starting pitcher on 1- or 2-year deal, sources say. Kuroda not under consideration. Team does not want to lose draft pick.
Source: Tweet 11/15/2013
Kensuke Tanaka will play winter ball in Venezuela for two to three weeks. He is set to arrive at Margarita Island on the 18th.
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/16/2013
The AL MVP went to Miguel Cabrera (385 points). Hisashi Iwakuma (two points), Koji Uehara (two points), and Yu Darvish (one point) managed to get some votes.
Source: MLB 11/14/2013
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
The 2013 Cy Young Award went to the Detroit Tigers' Max Scherzer (203 points). Yu Darvish finished in second (93 points), Hisashi Iwakuma third (73 points), and Koji Uehara seventh (10 points).
Source: MLB.com 11/13/2013
Hideki Matsui has been invited by the NY Yankees to be a special instructor during spring training next year. Matsui was invited this spring as well, but declined because his wife was due to deliver.
Source: Daily Sports 11/14/2013
Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (JPBPA) secretary general Toru Matsubara spoke to reporters today and said that the association plans to make an announcement about the posting system on Thursday.
The JPBPA had plans to make an announcement about the posting system today, but the association needed more time to summarize player opinions.
"I have been calling player chairmen from each of the teams to discuss the posting system and the process is taking a lot longer than I initially expected," Matsubara said.
Source: Sports Hochi 11/13/2013
The latest on Munenori Kawasaki -
From the Toronto Sun's Steve Buffery:
The Japanese media also asked about Munenori Kawasaki, who was a huge fan favourite in Toronto last season, though the Jays declined his $1 million contract option on Oct. 31, making him a free agent.
"Right now, he's going to explore some other options, but we're definitely leaving the door open for him to come back," said Anthopoulos, adding that he believes Kawasaki deserves a major league contract.
"I don't know if we'll be able to give him that, but definitely he deserves whatever comes his way," said the GM. "He's a great teammate, a great person, he had a good season for us and Toronto and all of Canada fell in love with him."
Source: Toronto Sun 11/12/2013
From Sports Net's Shi Davidi:
Munenori Kawasaki may not be done with the Blue Jays after all. The unique and beloved infielder had his $1 million option for 2014 declined last month and there was talk he was eyeing a return to Japan. But another possibility is that he accepts another minor-league deal from the Blue Jays, albeit one that comes with a higher base salary than the $600,000 he collected while at triple-A Buffalo this season.
Source: Sports Net 11/11/2013
Shunsuke Watanabe spent about two hours working out in Yokohama on Tuesday. He tossed 150 pitches in the bullpen and used and MLB baseball. He already contacted his former manager, Bobby Valentine, to let him know of his decision. He has turned to Speed Learning for his English studies.
Oakland A's assistant GM David Forst believes Hiroyuki Nakajima should think about becoming a utility player.
Source: Sponichi 11/13/2013
The latest on Manny Ramirez and Japan -
From the NY Daily News:
Manny Ramirez isn't finished with baseball yet.
At least that's what his agent, Barry Praver, said Monday at the General Managers meetings, saying the 41-year-old wants to play somewhere in 2014.
"He's interested in continuing his career, whether it be with a major-league organization or in Japan," Praver said. "He's serious. He's got a tremendous love of the game. He loves playing."
Source: NY Daily News 11/13/2013
Multiple media sources in Japan also mention Praver saying that Ramirez loves Japan, is interested in playing in the NPB, and would not mind a one-year deal.