Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball announced terms of a new posting agreement on Monday, a three-year agreement that marks quite a departure from the previous system.
Under terms of the new agreement, the maximum fee an NPB team can receive for a single player is $20 million. This is relevant this winter because the hottest pitcher on the market, Masahiro Tanaka, may not even be on the market at all. Under the old system there was no limit to the posting fee, and Tanaka was expected to shatter the record of $51.7 million bid by the Rangers to secure bidding rights to Yu Darvish.
Claiming the $20 million fee is too low, the Rakuten Eagles might decide not to make Tanaka available, keeping him for another season.
But that hasn't been decided yet. If Tanaka is posted, here are the new guidelines.
All players must be posted by NPB between November 1 and February 1.
The NPB team sets the "release fee" in advance, not to exceed $20 million. Once the release fee is set, it cannot be changed.
Once a player is posted, all 30 MLB teams are allowed to negotiate with him for a period of 30 days. If the player and an MLB team reach a contract agreement, the team must pay the release fee to the NPB team. The fee will be paid in installments, with the timing depending on the size of the fee.
If a player does not come to a contract agreement with an MLB team within 30 days, he returns to his NPB team and can't be posted again until next November 1.
The term of MLB's agreement with NPB is for three years, and will continue year-to-year after that, until one of the parties gives 180 days notice to opt out of the agreement.
"We are pleased to have amicably reached an agreement that addresses various issues raised by all parties," MLB COO Rob Manfred said in a statement.
Now, we wait on Tanaka.