Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball have officially reached a three-year agreement on a new posting system. Under the agreement, an NPB team sets a fee of up to $20 million for a player, who can then sign with negotiate and sign with any MLB team within thirty days.
If he fails to sign a contract within that period of time, the player returns to his NPB team and cannot be posted again until the following offseason. If he does sign, the MLB team must pay the NPB team the fee it set when it posted the player, but payments can be made in installments. Finally, all postings must take place between November 1 and February 1 of an offseason.
Under the old posting system, MLB teams submitted blind bids, and the winning team got exclusive negotiating rights with the posted player. The highest posting fees paid were for Yu Darvish ($52 million), Daisuke Matsuzaka ($51 million), and Kei Igawa ($26 million). Other notable players posted in the past include Ichiro Suzuki, Norichika Aoki, and former Mets pitcher Kaz Ishii, who was first acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Today, though, the posting system matters most to Masahiro Tanaka, a pitcher who our own Steve Sypa profiled here back in October. Here's some of what he had to say about how Tanaka would fit the Mets:
So, should the Mets be in on Masahiro Tanaka? While the Mets have many holes, starting pitching isn't necessarily one of them. Though Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee are the only starting pitchers that can comfortably be written into the team's 2014 starting rotation right now, the team has internal options, as well as a number of low-risk, moderate-reward free agents. While Tanaka is very likely to be far superior to all of those options, his addition to the team would be a luxury, more than a necessity. With limited funds, the team would be better suited dipping into them to improve the holes that already exist, rather than further fortifying strengths.