The Japanese Posting System has brought a new culture to Major League Baseball and is now attempting to be revised by the MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball. Reports yesterday by the Japanese Times indicated that the Japanese Players Association has accepted the new system, but this may not matter as the Nippon Professional Baseball Committee has reportedly taken too long to inform the MLB of a decision. The deal doesn't seem to be in danger of falling apart, but instead will hopefully be struck soon.
If a deal were to not be made, Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka would be greatly affected as he would not be able to sign through the posting system and instead have to play two more seasons in Japan until he is deemed a free agent. At just 25-years-old, Tanaka has been more than impressive. While pitching for the Rakuten Golden Eagles this season he posted a 1.27 ERA and a 1.4 BB/9 rate. It should also be mentioned Tanaka went a perfect 24-0 and is said to have two plus secondary offerings that have been ranked as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. One of these plus offerings includes his splitter that has some calling it "arguably the best splitter in the world."
The new proposed Japanese Posting System is very similar to the prior one, as the top bidder will still have negotiating rights to the posted player. However, the top bidder will only be inclined to pay the average of the top two bids for the player, and if the top bidding team is not able to work out a deal with the player, they will be subject to a fine by the MLB. We saw an example of how this new system could work very well back in 2010 when the Oakland Athletics were the high bidder at $19.1 million for Hisashi Iwakuma, the next highest bidder was the Minnesota Twins with a $7.7 million bid for the Japanese right hander. The Athletics did not end up signing Iwakuma, offering him a contract well below his asking price, and speculation arose that the A's were attempting to block the Rangers and Mariners from signing Iwakuma. Under the new system, the A's would be subject to a fine and likely would not attempt to block other teams.
With many teams not only interested in Masahiro Tanaka's services, but also other Japanese players who have hopes of getting posted this offseason, Major League Baseball is certainly hoping a deal can get done soon. Players such as Yu Darvish, Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda, Hisashi Iwakuma, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have had the opportunity to play baseball and enjoy success at the highest level. Now hopefully, Tanaka and many others will get that same chance, and we will be able to watch them perform at that same level.