Baseball: Eagles ace Tanaka asks club to post him
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Record-breaking right-hander Masahiro Tanaka told the Rakuten Eagles on Tuesday that he wants to move to the major leagues this offseason through the posting system.
On the day Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball put a new system into place that will cap the amount of money Japanese clubs can receive for their players at $20 million, Tanaka told Eagles president Yozo Tachibana he was ready to go.
"I expressed my desire to take advantage of the new posting system to test myself (in the big leagues)," Tanaka told a press conference following his meeting with Tachibana. "I believe that from this point on, a lot of things will be discussed."
Tanaka went 24-0 in the regular season and finished the year having won 28 consecutive decisions since he last took a loss in August 2012. He went 2-1 and saved both of the Eagles' postseason series-clinching games.
A knowledgeable source has told Kyodo News that the Eagles made a "gentleman's agreement" last autumn to honor a request from Tanaka to be posted. Under the previous posting system, letting Tanaka leave could have easily meant a $50 million for the club. Rakuten strenuously objected to the new agreement and is now trying to persuade their pitcher to stay.
"The team's position is that he is a key player in our ambition to win back-to-back championships, so we want him to stay," Tachibana said.
In the past, two Japanese clubs had received in excess of $50 million for posting players. The Eagles could have expected to reap at least that much given Tanaka's stature and a dearth of quality starting pitchers in the big leagues' free agent market.
The new agreement allows Japanese teams to notify MLB between Nov. 1 and Feb. 1 that a player is available and requires them to set a release fee of up to $20 million. The player will have 30 days, starting the day after he is posted, to conclude a contract with any of the teams willing to pay his NPB club the designated release fee. If there is no contract, the player's rights remain the property of his NPB club and he may not be posted until the following Nov. 1.
The deal will last for three years and can be terminated by either MLB or NPB 180 days prior to the anniversary of the agreement.
December 17, 2013(Mainichi Japan)