Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Major League Baseball has withdrawn its most
recent proposal to Nippon Professional Baseball for a revised bidding system
on Japanese league players that intend to play in North America.
MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred confirmed the impasse while speaking
during Thursday's general managers and owners meetings, citing that the NPB
has been stalling as to whether or not to accept the new agreement.
"What I would tell you is that we made a proposal to the Japanese," Manfred
told MLB.com. "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
The failure of the two leagues to find common ground could have a significant
effect on this year's free agent market, where Rakuten Golden Eagles star
Masahiro Tanaka is expected to be among the most sought-after pitchers. If a
deal over the posting process cannot be reached, Tanaka would have to spend
two more years in Japan in order to qualify for free agency.
In an effort to reduce expenses for North American teams and create a more
competitive environment between large and small-market clubs, MLB wants to
change the posting rules presently in place. Under the system that has been in
place since 1998, major league teams have bid secretly to Japanese franchises
for the right to negotiate exclusively with an eligible player for 30 days. If
that player does not sign, he returns to his former team and the posting fee
The new proposal calls for the Japanese team to receive the average amount of
the top two bids instead of the top figure, and the MLB club would receive a
penalty if unable to come to an agreement within the 30-day window.
Japan's players association approved the plan under much debate, with the
teams scheduled to vote on Monday. However, Manfred said that the NPB is not
prepared to provide a formal response on the matter at this time.
According to Manfred, MLB will continue to negotiate with the Japanese league
in hopes of hammering out an agreement.
The current posting system has paved the way for several Japanese stars, most
notably Ichiro Suzuki, 2013 American League Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish and
Daisuke Matsuzaka, to reach the majors prior to the nine-year service
requirement to achieve free agency.
Tanaka, who went 24-0 for Rakuten this past season and led the Golden Eagles
to the 2013 Japan Series championship, is believed to command a bid exceeding
the record $51.7 million the Texas Rangers paid to obtain Darvish from the
Nippon Ham Fighters prior to the 2012 campaign.
The Sports Network