Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball have been hard at work trying to nail down an agreement for a new posting system. The last proposal fell through after NPB had reservations about approving a system that would only give the Japanese team the average between the highest and second highest posting fee.
Now the predominant idea making the rounds would introduce a posting limit in order to put a cap on posting fees before they get any more outrageous. NPB has reportedly approved of a capped posting system, however, they are not liking the proposed biding limit of $20 million. MLB wants to reduce the prices for Japanese players, but $20 million is kind of a joke. Yu Darvish required a bid over $50 million, and some say Masahiro Tanaka could cost around $60 million. There's no way NPB would be ok limiting the amount of money they get so suddenly.
How would a max bid even work? If Tanaka posted today, almost every team would bid $20 million. Apparently if multiple teams bid the max they will then "vie in negotiations for player." I'm not entirely sure what that might mean, but it sounds a lot like a bidding war. Does the Japanese team get the tie-breaking bid? I feel very uncomfortable about an open bidding because then the price will really get out of hand, and if we're starting at such a low point, it's bound to happen.
I would have assumed that the max bid would be $80-$100 million in order to prevent things from getting any higher. The system would work roughly the same and by the time it could reach that amount the posting system would probably have to be renewed again. This would be a slow transition away from the posting system, but a max bid this low is too drastic.
Meanwhile, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are preparing a new contract for their 25-year-old ace just in case no agreement is made and Tanaka is unable to post for the 2014 season. The Yankees will just have to sit and wait for something to give.