Officials from Nippon Professional Baseball will be in New York this week to try and resolve ongoing issues over the new posting system that would allow MLB teams to bid on Masahiro Tanaka later this offseason. Tanaka is widely seen as the best available pitcher on the market this winter, and will only be made available once a new system is in place. Talks between MLB and NPB fell through last month, delaying the time frame for when Tanaka can officially put himself on the market for bidding. It seemed, for a moment, that the deal falling through might prevent the Japanese phenom from making his way to the United States for the 2014 season, but officials are hopeful that a deal can be made.
According to Jon Heyman, Japanese officials are looking for a move that would come close to mirroring the recently expired agreement that would have teams blindly bidding on a Japanese player before exclusive negotiating rights are awarded to the team bidding the most money. Various other systems, including one that would allow the player to pick between a set number of teams, were discussed, but it seems that the outcome is most likely one similar to the old system if a new deal can be struck at all. If MLB and NPB cannot work anything out, Tanaka wouldn't be able to post and the Yankees would lose one of their top targets of the offseason.
The winning bid for Tanaka, which wouldn't count against the luxury tax, could be in the $75 million range, which would exceed the record of $51.7 million paid by the Texas Rangers for the rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish two years ago. The Yankees could have some stiff competition in the battle for Tanaka with Heyman speculated that the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, and Rangers, among others, could all be involved in the bidding. Many of those teams appear to have plenty of money to spend, which could force the Yankees to really go all in if they hope to land a pitcher capable of improving their shaky rotation, which they desperately need.
All that is, of course, dependent on NPB and MLB officials finding some kind of common ground on what the details of the next posting system will be during their meetings. If no decision can be agreed upon, the Yankees will have to go back to the drawing board for ways to land top flight talent without being able to develop it themselves and not paying a fortune via trade or on the open market.
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