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[12/30/2013] Masahiro Tanaka, Norichika Aoki

by on Dec.31, 2013 @ 12:08 am, under MLB
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Updates on Masahiro Tanaka from Monday, December 30, 2013:

According to reports by Sponichi and Sanspo, Major League Baseball sent the Rakuten Eagles a letter asking for clarification and written assurances that they will not be involved in any under-the-table financial transactions connected to Tanaka's posting.

Source: Sponichi 12/30/2013, Sanspo 12/30/2013


Teams that might be interested:

Minnesota Twins, according to a tweet by ESPN's Darren Wolfson. [Tweet 12/29/2013 via Nikkan Sports 12/30/2013]

The Arizona Diamondbacks reportedly reached out to Casey Close. [Arizona Sports 12/27/2013 via Sponichi 12/30/2013]


In other MLB-related news...

A bat Norichika Aoki used to collect about thirty hits this season was went for 100,000 yen during a charity auction in Miyazaki on Sunday.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/30/2013

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[12/29/2013] Masahiro Tanaka News and Notes

by on Dec.29, 2013 @ 3:12 pm, under MLB, NPB
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Masahiro Tanaka updates from Sunday, December 29, 2013:

Bobby V: Tanaka has Rookie of the Year Talent by Mike Puma

... "He pitches like Jose Fernandez," Valentine told The Post on Friday, referring to the Marlins ace and NL Rookie of the Year. "I think [Tanaka] has similar stuff and similar competitiveness. He is battle-proven, and there is nothing you wouldn't like about him. He would be a credit to anybody's staff."

... "His split-fingered fastball is the best in the world," Valentine said.

... "He's all about aggressiveness, competitiveness. He got put on the big stage as a young guy, where he was in the [Japanese] major leagues as a 19-year-old and he played for all those international teams, WBC, and was on staff with all the big boys and always held his own."

... "The mounds are a big adjustment for guys coming over from Japan because the mounds over there are soft," Valentine said. "That is a big adjustment."

... "If I was him, I would pitch in the National League," Valentine said. "I would pitch on the West Coast and I would pitch where the weather isn't going to be a factor."

Source: New York Post 12/27/2013 via Sponichi 12/29/2013


On what Tanaka's agent, Casey Close, could be looking for, from ESPN's Wallace Matthews:

... At this point, there's no way Garza, Jimenez or Santana are going to sign with anyone before they see how much Tanaka goes for. And since it is widely assumed Tanaka and his agent, Casey Close, are seeking, at minimum, a five-year, $100 million contract, this will serve as a belated Christmas present for the other three, whose agents will base their asking prices on Tanaka's final numbers.

Source: ESPN 12/27/2013 via Nikkan Sports 12/29/2013

On what Tanaka might cost, from USA Today's Bob Nightengale:

Team officials involved in Tanaka sweepstakes say the Japanese star will cost a minimum of $17 million a year

Source: Tweet 12/27/2013 via Nikkan Sports 12/29/2013

New York Yankees on Tanaka, from Newsday's Marc Carig:

On the first day that major-league teams were allowed to begin negotiations with the Japanese pitching star, an industry source said Thursday that the Yankees already have been in contact with Casey Close, whom Tanaka recently designated as his agent. Close is Derek Jeter's longtime agent.

Source: Newsday 12/26/2013 via Sports Hochi 12/28/2013

Texas Rangers on Tanaka, from MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan:

"We're probably comfortable where we are in terms of financial commitments," Rangers co-chairman Bob Simpson said. "Tanaka would be a tough thing. We aggressively went after Yu, who we are fortunate to have. I guess I should never say never, but at the moment, we're more interested in just rounding out our team than marquee players."

Source: MLB.com 12/27/2013 via Nikkan Sports 12/29/2013


Rosenthal: MLB on guard against shenanigans in Tanaka posting process by Ken Rosenthal

... "It is a violation of the agreement for any value other than the posting fee to flow directly or indirectly to the Japanese club," said Rob Manfred, baseball's chief operating officer. "The agreement is brand new and we want to make sure that people follow the agreement."

... OK, the scenario probably is far-fetched. Still, one major league executive says "back-channeling" is indeed the biggest concern under the new agreement, citing another way in which teams could coerce Japanese clubs to post players.

... Of all the possibilities, perhaps the most realistic is the one that already has been broached — the idea of Tanaka somehow repaying Rakuten by making a donation to the team.

MLB, of course, could view the donation as an illegal kickback. Such a plan, one source said, also would be "very inefficient" — Tanaka would be taxed on his major league income in Japan, and Rakuten would be taxed for any revenue he contributed to the club.

Source: Fox Sports 12/28/2013 via Sponichi 12/29/2013

Rakuten Eagles President Yozo Tachibana clarified that Tanaka has plans to donate money to the prefecture, not the organization.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/29/2013Sports Hochi 12/29/2013

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[12/26/2013] MLB teams will have between Dec 26 and Jan 24 to work out a deal with Masahiro Tanaka

by on Dec.26, 2013 @ 9:59 pm, under NPB
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Updates on Masahiro Tanaka from December 26, 2013:

  • The MLB sent out notices to all thirty teams on the 25th.  Negotiations can begin at 8:00am (EST) on the 26th (10pm on the 26th in Japan).  Teams will have until January 24 at 5:00pm (EST) to finalize a deal. [Sponichi 12/26/2013]
  • Tanaka is apparently planning to help the Eagles out with support and donations.  "Tanaka said to me, 'I want to give back as much I can to the team, fans, Miyagi, and Tohoku for all the support they gave me.  Beginning with the stadium and facilities, I want to do what I can, in terms of things like support and donations, to make sure the Eagles are a team the Tohoku fans can continue to love,'" Tachibana said. [Nikkan Sports 12/26/2013, Sponichi 12/26/2013] ... Sanspo also has the following quote from Tanaka: "I can not say specifically what right now.  I am not thinking right away, but over the long run." [Sanspo 12/26/2013]
  • According to Sponichi, the Eagles decided to post Tanaka because they were concerned about their image -- they did not want fans to think they are only in it for the money.  Someone connected to the team is quoted as saying, "If we say we cannot let him go at two billion yen, then [people] will say it is all about the money.  Our only choice was to let him go." [Sponichi 12/26/2013]
  • About fifty members of the media and ten TV cameras were waiting to speak to Tanaka on Wednesday. [Sports Hochi 12/26/2013, Sanspo 12/26/2013]
  • Tanaka has reportedly hired Casey Close to represent him. [Sponichi 12/26/2013, Sanspo 12/26/2013]
  • Tanaka will be in Tokyo on the 26th and 27th for various events.  He will have the day off from the 28th to the 30th.  He will be a guest judge for the 64th NHK Kohaku Utagassen on the 31st.  He has plans to work out with Takahiro Norimoto in January. [Sponichi 12/26/2013]


Senichi Hoshino's interaction with the media

The organization has decided to let Tanaka go to the Majors.

I believed he would ultimately be allowed to go and I wanted to let him go.  We are letting the United States take charge in everything, from diplomacy to defense.  That may have been a sticking point.  That is probably why it took this long.  But, there will be offers from the Majors.  I think we should take pride in knowing that player is from Rakuten.

A big presence in Tanaka will be leaving.

This is the most difficult for me.  But that is ok.  There are no pitchers that can do better than Tanaka, so it will be about how close we can get our pitchers to that.

Are you looking forward to seeing Tanaka succeed in the Majors?

Yes, but right now I can only think about what do to next season.  But this is good, this is good news.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/26/2013

Yozo Tachibana's interaction with the media

The upper threshold is two billion yen.  There was talk early on that it might reach ten billion.

That is something we could not explain to the stockholders.  I think perhaps the only we can do is continue to improve our value by winning championships.  However, as I understand it, Tanaka did a lot for us over the years.

What was the biggest factor into the decision?

The things he did for us over the last seven years and how strongly [Hiroshi] Mikitani felt about that.

What was the biggest sticking point?

This system is only about a week old.  All things considered, I think the decision was made fairly quickly.

The organization will not be involved in negotiations.

There is no way of knowing how things are going with Tanaka.  This is more like free agency than posting.

Will this affect other team transactions?

[Kevin] Youkilis will help the team score more runs, so the team should improve in that regard.

You will not know how negotiations are going, but will you still try to get information?

We will not go looking for the information unless he comes to us with it.  As as I said before, this is free agency.  This is out of our control.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/26/2013

Masahiro Tanaka's interaction with the media

How did you spend the week since you told the team you wanted to head overseas?

I had fun my own way, I did not really think too deeply about things.  I was not really worried.

Were there any changes to your desire to play in the Majors?

No changes.

When did you start thinking about the Majors?

I was not thinking about it when I first turned pro.  It built up over time.

What kind of style do you plan to use in the Majors?

I really have no plans of changing of changing.

What was the most memorable event with the Eagles?

It was probably when the team won the league championship.  The league championship.

How do you feel about leaving the organization?

I am not really thinking about the past.  It kind of makes me feel sad if I think about it as leaving...  So nothing in particular.

Do you have something to say to the Rakuten fans?

You always gave me warm cheers no matter what.  I hope you can continue to do that as I move on to the next stage [of my career].

Source: Sponichi 12/26/2013

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[12/25/2013] Masahiro Tanaka News and Notes

by on Dec.26, 2013 @ 2:38 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles President Yozo Tachibana expressed continued dissatisfaction with the new posting system and questioned whether it was really good for Japanese yakyu. [Sports Hochi 12/25/2013]


Tanaka's interaction with media

How do you feel?

I really appreciate the organization's decision to accept my request.

What did you feel the moment the team preside told you?

Like I took another step forward.

What did you go through this last week?

I had fun in my own way.  I did not think too deeply about it.  I was not particularly worried.

When did you start thinking about the Majors?

I did not feel anything when I first turned pro.  It happened over time.

Will you be looking for anything in particular [when talking to MLB teams]?

That is something I will begin thinking about now.  The more teams I can speak to, the more options I have.

What do the last seven years in Sendai mean to you?

I got this far with help and support from the organization and fans.  That is without a doubt a part of my foundation.  I want to lock that away in my heart as I continue playing baseball.

Source: Sanspo 12/25/2013


Tachibana's interaction with the media

What are your thoughts right now?

This does not change the fact that he is an important part of this team.  He is one of Japan's best.  I told him again that I wanted him to stay.  I am not really sure how to feel with regards to all of this -- his desire to go and the organization's decision.

How did Tanaka look when you told him the team's decision?

I think he looked relieved.

What were owner [Hiroshi] Mikitani's thoughts?

He has wanted young players to take on the challenge of playing overseas, that has not changed.

When did the owner finalize his decision?

Officially, last night.

What did he say?

That we should support Tanaka's decision.  He said we should happily accept Masahiro Tanaka's success.

Are you still not satisfied with the new posting system?

This is very close to free agency.  There needs to be more discussion about whether this is actually a good thing for Japanese baseball.

How do you feel about letting him go?

He was a core member of the team for seven years.  I feel really sad about this, but I would to see him, with pride in Japan and Tohoku, go crazy in the Majors.

Source: Sanspo 12/25/2013


See also:

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[12/25/2013] Rakuten Eagles to post Masahiro Tanaka

by on Dec.25, 2013 @ 12:07 pm, under NPB
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The latest on Masahiro Tanaka, from Wednesday, December 25, 2013:

Nikkan Sports

  • The Eagles are expected to post Tanaka, based on conversations conducted with various staff.
  • An announcement could be made as early as today.
  • Tanaka arrived at Kleenex Stadium at 10:50am this morning.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/25/2013Nikkan Sports 12/25/2013


  • The Eagles are expected to post Tanaka.
  • It took this long for the Eagles to finalize their decision most likely because they had to convince sponsors and stockholders.
  • Potential agents include: Arn Tellem, Scott Boras, and Casey Close.

Source: Sanspo 12/25/2013


  • The Eagles have most likely decided to post Tanaka, according to people close to the discussions.
  • It is possible the Eagles might try to strike some sort of partnership with the team that ultimately signs Tanaka in an effort to gain a little something extra from the posting.

Source: Sponichi 12/25/2013

Daily Sports

  • The Eagles have most likely decided to post Tanaka.

Source: Daily Sports 12/25/2013

Sports Hochi

  • The Eagles have most likely decided to ask Tanaka to stay.
  • Not everyone in the organization is against the posting.
  • Tanaka is expected to make another appeal for the team to post him, since he has already started making preparations, like narrowing down potential agents.
  • The Eagles could still change direction during their meeting with Tanaka.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/25/2013

[UPDATE @ 1:10pm]

The Eagles have decided to let Tanaka chase after his dreams of playing in the Majors.

"Masahiro Tanaka was obviously a big factor in helping us win a Nippon Series this year.  But we also valued the seven years he put into this organization.  Owner Hiroshi Mikitani was also on board and we decided that we will post him," Eagles' President Tachibana said during a press conference.

Source: Daily Sports 12/25/2013, Sports Hochi 12/25/2013, Sponichi 12/25/2013, ZakZak 12/25/2013

[UPDATE @ 10:44pm]

The Eagles filed paperwork on Tanaka today.  The NPB accepted the paperwork.  The paperwork includes the posting fee and a medical file on Tanaka.  The Eagles most likely set the posting fee at the maximum allowed amount.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/25/2013

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[12/24/2013] Masahiro Tanaka could speak to the Rakuten Eagles on the 25th

by on Dec.24, 2013 @ 12:45 pm, under NPB
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The latest on Masahiro Tanaka, from Tuesday, December 24, 2013:

  • DAILY SPORTS: Tanaka was in Tokyo on Monday and is scheduled to return to Sendai today.  Chances of a meeting today are fairly low.  He is scheduled to return to Tokyo for additional events on the 26th.  The Eagles are set to hold their last official meeting of the year on the 27th.  If a meeting is to take place, it will most likely have to on the 25th. [Daily Sports 12/24/2013]
  • NIKKAN SPORTS: If the Eagles are going to give Tanaka their final decision before the end of the year, there is a good chance they will do it on the 25th, since that might be the only day the two sides have time to meet. [Nikkan Sports 12/24/2013]
  • SPORTS HOCHI: There is a chance the Eagles will not finalize their decision until next month. [Sports Hochi 12/24/2013]
  • SPONICHI: Tanaka appeared at a public relations event for bed maker Nishikawa Sangyo on Monday.  After the ceremony, when reporters asked him if he was going to dream in English next season, he kept his reply short and said, "I am not sure." [Sponichi 12/24/2013]

[UPDATE @ 7:48pm]

Rakuten Eagles' President Yozo Tachibana spoke to reporters today and said, "We want to provide everyone with a reply as soon as possible.  We hope they can wait just a bit longer."

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/24/2013

[UPDATE @ 8:36pm]

Additional Tachibana quotes, these from Sanspo:

"We are in the final stages.  We want to get this done as soon as possible."

"We are working on a proper statement.  We hope people can wait a little bit longer."

Source: Sanspo 12/24/2013


In other posting system news, Hiroshima Carp Manager Kenjiro Nomura provided reporters with his thoughts on Kenta Maeda wanting to be posted.

I think it is very important and wonderful for a baseball player to set high goals.  It will be tough on the team if he leaves.  But, we have at least one year with him so we will let him to his thing.  I cannot say "Go" or "Stay."  It is his career, he should do as he pleases.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/24/2013

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[12/18/2013] Rakuten Eagles: Masahiro Tanaka prepared to stay if he has to

by on Dec.18, 2013 @ 3:36 pm, under NPB
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Will the Rakuten Eagles post Masahiro Tanaka?

Sports Hochi 12/18/2013: No.

Sanspo 12/18/2013: Most likely, yes, perhaps as early as this week.

Sponichi 12/18/2013: Most likely yes.

Nikkan Sports 12/18/2013: Good chance they will post him.


Sports Hochi has posted portions of Tuesday's press conference.

What kind of things did you talk about?

It has been seven years since I joined the organization.  I spoke about how much I appreciated the Rakuten Eagles' support and that I also wanted to move on to the next stage [of my career].

What kinds of things have been going through your head?

I was not really thinking of much, since there was nothing I could really do until the new system was in place.

Were you asked to stay?

That is what they have always wanted and that is what they asked.  I stated my desires while taking that into consideration.

Is the decision final in your mind?

Well, I did tell them what I wanted to do.

There is not a lot of time.

The system became official today, so I am not really sure [how that works out].  We did not talk about when we will meet again.

Did you get a feel for what the organization might be thinking?

I honestly cannot say.  They did give me an answer today and we will continue to talk.  I will say what is on my mind and I am sure the organization will tell me what is on their mind.  We are talking right now.  They carefully listened to what I had to say and I am sure we will touch on a lot of things in our future conversations.

Do you feel now is a good time based on your age?

That is not everything, but it is a part of the decision.

What about your agent?

As I said before, I was waiting for the new system to become official.  I think it will be fine if I can begin the search now.

What do you think of the new system that allows players to talk to multiple teams?

I feel I am in no position to comment on the good and bad of the system.

If you decided to stay, you would be going for another championship.  Was there ever a doubt which you wanted?


Anything for the fans?

I feel nothing but appreciation.  I joined after graduating from high school.  Even though I got slapped around on the Ichi-gun mound, they warmly cheered for me.  I feel they were a part of the Rakuten Eagles that helped me grow.

Anything for your teammates?

We all fought hard this season.  I think they are the best teammates.  I am forever thankful.

Did you ask anyone for advice?

I think my wife understands my feelings.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/18/2013

Sanspo has also posted portions of the press conference.  Below are sections not included in the above and what was posted on Tuesday.

You were not able to speak your mind up until today, what that difficult?

Not really.  There is nothing that I can do since I have no control over it.  I already figured it would be after [the agreement became official].

Was the Rakuten's first championship this year a reason for leaving?

Yes. I think it was one of the reasons.

Was wanting to go while you were still young a reason?

Well, that is not everything, but that may have been a reason as well.

There is the option of going after you earn your international FA option.  Any reason why you have to leave now?

I took a lot of things into consideration.  Timing might be a strange thing to talk about, but that is what I was thinking and it was done in consideration of everything.

There are a number of things you will have to do in preparation for going to America, have you decided on things like your agent yet?

It was always after the new system was in place.  I think I will be fine if I can do things now.

How do you physically feel?

I feel better than that I thought I would.

When would you like a final decision to be made by?

I have not really thought of that.

Until everyone is satisfied?

Not so much satisfied...  We will talk things through.

You will be able to talk to multiple teams under the new agreement.

I feel I am in no position to talk specifically about the new system.  I would like to withhold my comments.

Is there a team you would like to play for?

None in particular.

Is there any part of you that is willing to stay?

I will not say anything about that.  The posting system is a right the organization has, if they say no and ask me to stay, then I am prepared, as a professional athlete, to do my best [under those circumstances].

Going for a second straight championship sounds like it would be rewarding.  Did your feelings ever waver between that and heading to the Majors?


Did you make this decision yourself?

With whom would I speak to?  My wife understands my feelings.

Source: Sanspo 12/18/2013


When asked about the possibility that he might not be posted, Tanaka replied:

"That is not something I will probably say.  The posting system is a right the organization has.  If they say they do not want to post me and that they want me to stay, then as a professional [athlete], I will still do my best.  I think that is what it means to be a professional athlete.  I am prepared for that as well."

Source: Sports Hochi 12/18/2013


Arn Tellem might be Tanaka's agent, according to ZakZak.

Source: ZakZak 12/18/2013


Sponichi is already talking about a possible match-up dates between Tanaka and Yu Darvish, assuming the Angels sign him.

Source: Sponichi 12/18/2013


[UPDATE @ 10:05pm]

Chief Scout Hiroshi Abe told reporters today that it might take the organization some time to finalize a decision on Tanaka because it was not a simple discussion.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/18/2013

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[11/26/2013] Rakuten Eagles: Owner Mikitani appears to be ok with Tanaka posting

by on Nov.27, 2013 @ 12:37 am, under NPB
Tags: , ,

Rakuten Eagles' owner Hiroshi Mikitani had a revealing conversation over Twitter.

In response to the following question:


Mikitani-san, this may not be my concern, but will [Masahiro] Tanaka be able to go to the Majors?

He replied:


We have come this far, it is now up to the Majors.  Honestly, this will really hurt our team, but I think it is a good thing for young people to take on new challenges.

UPDATE @ 10:56am -

Mikitani also spoke to reporters on Tuesday and said, "There is not much that can be done until the posting system agreement is finalized.  No sense in talking about hypotheticals.  I think it is good for young people to take on new challenges, but please allow me to stop there."

He also said, "With Iwakuma-kun, a lot of things happened after [he was posted] so I think it best not to say thing too lightly.  I am sure there will be a formal announcement from the team once a decision has been made.  Even if he is posted, we have our past experiences so I do not want to irresponsible with the things I say."

Source: Sports Hochi 11/27/2013


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[11/13/2013] Updates on Masahiro Tanaka and the new posting system

by on Nov.13, 2013 @ 2:39 pm, under MLB, NPB
Tags: , ,

News and notes on the posting system and Masahiro Tanaka:

  • The Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (JPBPA) is slated to make a decision on the new posting system today.  They have been contacting individual player chairmen from each of the twelve NPB teams since the night of the 11th, beginning with JPBPA player chairman Motohiro Shima.  The final decision will be based on those discussions.  [ZakZak 11/13/2013]
  • There is a good chance Tanaka will speak to team president Yozo Tachibana at some point during the Asia Series.  Assuming the new posting system is in place, Tanaka could be posted at any time after the team returns on the 21st. [ZakZak 11/13/2013]
  • Both Tanaka and Tachibana have denied that there will be any discussions during the Asia Series.  Tanaka told reporters that his posting discussions would have to wait until everything was over. [Sports Hochi 11/13/2013]
  • According to Daily Sports, Tanaka may not hold discussions with the Eagles until some time on or after the 25th (the day after the team's victory parade). [Daily Sports 11/13/2013] ... Sponichi feels talks might take place sometime on or after the 22nd (the day after the team returns from the Asia Series). [Sponichi 11/13/2013]
  • Tachibana does not understand the timing of the JPBPA's refusal since they could have easily spoken up a lot sooner.  He is also not sure what to think of the JPBPA's decision to make a decision based on Tanaka's opinion, since it places a lot of pressure on him. [Sponichi 11/13/2013]
  • The JPBPA could risk losing a lot by allowing the new posting system to pass, but they also may not want to be the reason why Tanaka cannot post, if it comes down to that. [ZakZak 11/13/2013]
  • The MLBPA is apparently entirely against allowing posted players the ability to negotiate with multiple teams and is prepared to turn down any agreement that includes that kind of wording.  Ultimately the JPBPA may have thought they had a little more leverage in negotiations before they realized they did not. [Gendai 11/12/2013]
  • There may be some in the JPBPA that want to continue fighting, but not at the expense of Tanaka. [Sports Hochi 11/13/2013]

From the NY Post's Joel Sherman:

... Officials from multiple clubs expected to try to land Tanaka told me they are extremely concerned about how hard he was pushed to help his Rakuten Golden Eagles win a championship. It is possible this was brinksmanship to scare off suitors or an early form of negotiations to lower the eventual payout.

However, I spoke to these officials individually, not collectively, and I did sense genuine worry Tanaka threw four complete games in five postseason starts plus relieved twice, including throwing 15 pitches to earn the save in the decisive game 24 hours after expending 160 pitches in a start.

... Also, the heavy workload is not going to curtail a group of ambitious bidders led probably by the Yankees and Dodgers, but also likely to include the Angels, Diamondbacks and several others.

Still, an executive from another interested club said, "To get this deal done, [Tanaka] is going to have to take the most thorough physical ever, get shot full of dye so a team here can really know as much as possible about his shoulder and elbow. It does not seem impossible to me that you can have a team win the post and then not like what they see and just not sign [Tanaka]."

Source: NY Post 11/12/2013

From ESPN's Jerry Crasnick:

... In our annual ESPN.com Hot Stove survey, we touched base with 21 general managers, assistant GMs, player personnel people and scouts and sought their opinion on seven prominent questions that will make news over the next three months.

... 5. Which team will sign Japanese free-agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka? Does he get more than Yu Darvish's $60 million deal with Texas?

Responses: Los Angeles Dodgers 9; New York Yankees 6; San Francisco Giants 1; Chicago Cubs 1; Toronto Blue Jays 1; Seattle Mariners 1. Two executives declined to guess Tanaka's destination. Of the 21 execs surveyed, all but a handful think his payout will surpass Darvish's deal with the Rangers.

... "Market forces are working in his favor," a National League official said. "It is a small sample, but the recent track record of players with a similar background has an effect. On top of that, at least on the surface, you have two financial heavyweights in the Yankees and Dodgers going at it on this one player."

Source: ESPN 11/11/2013


A quick observation: the question that has yet to be answered is what team owner Hiroshi Mikitani wants to do.  The team ultimately has the right to turn down Tanaka's request to post.  If Mikitani does not want Tanaka to go, he could just as easily stop it from happening.  For those that talk about the money the team can stand to lose by not posting Tanaka: the team has a much better chance at winning a second championship if he stays.  The amount of money and publicity he can pull in if the teams repeats will be worth a lot more than what he posts for, not just for the organization, but also for the whole of the Tohoku region (economic impact).  Additionally, how much do the Eagles stand to lose by posting Tanaka?

The nice thing to do would be to post Tanaka.  But the right thing to do, at least from a business perspective, may be wait one more year.

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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
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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

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