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Posting System: NPB could agree to $20M max bid, but what's the tiebreaker?

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Koji Watanabe

There are plenty of reports coming out about how Nippon Professional Baseball has agreed to MLB's idea to cap the posting bids as part of the new posting system. The hang up has been for the amount, which is supposedly $20 million. There are conflicting reports saying how NPB has agreed to that limit, but also that the Eagles have not. If they don't agree to post their player, then Masahiro Tanaka can't be posted.

Then there's the matter of what happens if two teams place the same bid, which is likely to happen often for elite players like Tanaka. Some say that the player can then choose who they sign with, essentially making him a free agent, just with a limited amount of suitors. There is also the idea that, in the case of a tie, the rights to negotiate with a player will go to the team with the lowest winning percentage.

Whatever ends up happening, it will definitely change the Yankees' chances of landing Tanaka. Half the teams in baseball would spend a payroll-independent $20 million for the chance at landing a marquee player with Tanaka's upside. If the final agreement establishes that a tie goes to the lesser team, the Yankees aren't getting him. That would really end up being an unfair system because the Astros would end up winning every time.

If the player ends up with the right to choose, then it basically ends up being just like free agency, only teams would have to pay in to be eligible to negotiate. The Yankees might have the ability to outspend their opponents, but this would basically end the practice of giving Japanese players a below-market contract, since they now have alternatives to choose from. It's unknown if they would want to give Tanaka a competitive deal, but if so, they could still land him with the help of Ichiro Suzuki and (hopefully) Hiroki Kuroda.