Major League Baseball withdrew its proposal for a new bidding system with Japan Wednesday, making it unclear as to whether pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be on the market after all this offseason, this according to a report filed by The Associated Press.
MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred stated that the Japanese officials had not acted quickly enough on MLB’s propsal for a new posting agreement and that a new one would be forthcoming.
“We warned them, told them if this sat too long, there could be shifting winds out there, and suffice it to say there are shifting winds.” –Rob Manfred
Under the previous posting system, in place since December 1998, over a dozen Japanese players have moved to MLB prior to the nine years of service needed to become a free agent.
“If that’s the way we get Japanese professionals, I think that the 30 major league clubs are prepared to live with that result.” –Rob Manfred
Hisashi Iwakuma went through the posting process in 2010 as the Oakland Athletics won the bid to negotiate. However, the A’s were not able to come to terms with ‘Kuma in the 30-day window and he signed with the Mariners in 2012 as a free agent.
Of course, probably the highest-profile posting occurred when the Seattle Mariners won the bid to negotiate with Ichiro Suzuki in November of 2000.
“I think the concerns with the system was it was a blind bidding process that led to inflated numbers and that those inflated numbers make that market unavailable to a broad cross-section of our teams.” –Rob Manfred
Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA during the regular season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League.
The Mariners, as well as several other teams have been linked to interest in acquiring the righty. With the lack of a posting system in place for the foreseeable future, the M’s and others are forced to sit in a holding pattern.
By the time this all gets sorted out, some teams may not have the money required to get Tanaka and he may stay in Japan after all.
Tanaka would be eligible as a free agent after the 2015 season.