Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball have agreed to a new posting system that will allow Japanese players to come over to America before they are eligible to do so as a free agent. The new system, which expired only recently, will be just like the old system, except for two distinct changes.
The highest bid still wins the right to negotiate with the player, but now the winning team only has to pay the average between the highest and second-highest bids. This will basically allow teams to bid higher amounts that they won't have to pay in order to ensure they win the posting. However, in order to prevent teams from doing so just to block other teams, the highest bidder will be fined if they do not sign the player. So while the old system allowed for a refund if the team couldn't come to a deal, the new system will only allow a partial refund.
With a new process in place, Masahiro Tanaka will finally be able to officially post and teams can then bid on him. The bidding process should begin soon and we'll know whether or not the Yankees win. Under the old system, the winner was the team willing to spend the most, now there might be a little strategy involved as well. Teams will have to figure out what other teams are willing to bid and how much money over what they are willing to spend that they will officially bid. No team wants to waste money by overbidding, but now that's a real risk if the second-highest bid is nowhere near the highest.
The Yankees and Dodgers are thought to be the two biggest contenders for Tanaka. Neither the Giants nor Rangers are thought to be big spenders going in. The Blue Jays, Mariners, Cubs, Red Sox, and Orioles could all be major players, though.
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