Masahiro Tanaka news: $20 million release fee will be paid out in two installments

Koji Watanabe

The new system between MLB and NPB for Japanese players that wish to use the posting system to play in the United States before their contract with their Japanese team is up requires a $20 million release fee from the team that is able to come to an agreement with the player in question. Instead of paying the entire fee up front once the two sides reach a deal, the money will be paid to the Japanese team over the course of two years, with the first payment being $13 million and the remaining $7 million coming in Year Two.

Instead of a posting fee bidding war that would allow negotiating rights to only one MLB team, the $20 million agreement was supposed to level the playing field a bit. It seems like splitting up the payment of the release fee into two parts is also meant to allow more teams into the mix. However, if a team is unable to pay the $20 million upfront, it seems unlikely that they could compete with richer teams in a bidding war on the open market. Maybe a team with a sizable chunk of money coming off the books the following season could find it appealing to be able to delay $7 million for another year.

The Yankees aren't likely to be impacted very much by this because they seemed willing to pay whatever the posting fee under the previous system might be anyway. If they come up with the most money for Masahiro Tanaka and can save themselves $7 million until 2015, it is likely neither here nor there for them. It certainly doesn't hurt, though.

Which MLB teams do you think could be helped the most by the release fee for Tanaka and subsequent Japanese players being split into two parts? Does doing it this way really allow more teams to be involved in the negotiation process?

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