Passan: MLB & NPB discussing significant changes to posting system

Olney: Yankees have interest in Nate Schierholtz
Open Thread: Winter Meetings Eve

Via Jeff Passan: MLB and Nippon Pro Baseball are discussing significant changes to the posting system used to import players from Japan. Specifically, MLB is pushing NPB for an open auction rather than the blind bids submitted now. That would keep the posting fees down slightly, meaning the various NPB teams would receive less money for their players. You can understand why they’re resisting.

The Yankees have been a little gun shy about bidding for Japanese players since the Kei Igawa fiasco, though the only notable miss was Yu Darvish. An open auction would help big market teams more than small market teams, at least in theory, but at the end of the day it still comes down to talent. No Japanese players are expected to be posted this offseason — the new system could be implemented as soon as next winter — and as far as I know, there is no Darvish-esque talent coming anytime soon. That could change rather quickly.

Olney: Yankees have interest in Nate Schierholtz
Open Thread: Winter Meetings Eve
  • Jerkface

    Aoki is a notable miss given the Yankees desire to both be good and get under the luxury tax limit. He is a nice, little player that would have been great insurance against Swisher’s leaving.

    • The kid sam

      Well they won rights to SS Hiroyuki Nakajima but they didn’t sign him. IDK why he was a smooth switch hitter. They won with only a $2.2m bid but he would be good insurance for JETER since nuñez isn’t that good.

      • jjyank

        Negotiations are a two way street. If I remember correctly, Nakajima wasn’t down to be a bench player, which was exactly what the Yankees wanted to sign him for.

  • Ted Nelson

    I’d like to see more than a season before labeling Yu a miss. Most Japanese SPs have had their most successful seasons as rookies. Few have sustained it. He might continue as a top SP, but Texas also might regret the move in a couple of years.

    • RetroRob

      I certainly undertand why the Yankees passed. It took approximately $110M from the Rangers in posting to land Darvish, and the Rangers were willing to take a risk as Wilson was heading out and they were in need of a front-end starter. The Yankees had CC and a solid rotation, so they opted to direct their resources elsewhere.

      As for Darvish, there was a point after he passed through the league a couple times where it looked like he was heading down the same path as Dice-K, but then he made some adjustments and finished strong and his overall year was good. Like you, I’ll want to see him do it again in 2013, but I have greater confidence in him than I ever had in Dice-K.

      • Laz

        Yea, but still Dice-k was supposed to be terrific pitcher. It seems that a lot of the Japanese pitchers have a lot of innings under their belt at a young age (all through high school and into ml’s) and some fall apart. Kuroda has been terrific and he is much older so Yu may be good.

    • Jerkface

      Kuroda? Ohka? Ishii? Irabu? Suzuki?

      There haven’t been that many SPs, and not enough to lump them all in the same group. Darvish has very very good stuff and ability.

      • Ted Nelson

        Kuroda is largely the exception. Ohka was hardly a model of longevity. Ishii put up an fWAR above 0.1 in one season, his second. Irabu never threw 55 IP after his first three seasons in MLB. Suzuki had one good season, and even in that season his FIP was over 5.

        The general trend is towards more success early and not sustaining it. It’s not a scientific thing, I just want to see Darvish for more than one season before saying the Yankees missed out on him.

        • Jerkface

          Well why would that be, Ted Nelson? Could it be that in general Japanese pitchers arrive in their prime or early 30s so of course their performance will suffer later? Ohka didn’t have an amazing career but so what, most pitchers do not. He put up his best years in the middle of his career, like many players. Irabu’s best year was his 2nd, he didn’t come in guns blazing then fade. Mac Suzuki had to adjust and had 1 good year. Ishii had 1 good year, but it wasnt in his first. Kuroda has been exceptional his entire career.

          The point I am making is that Japanese pitchers are not some group of pitchers to all be lumped into a stereotype.

          And especially Darvish, who is very unique in the pitching spectrum let alone the japanese pitching spectrum is not someone to be lumped together with other, lesser players.

          He is a 6’5 half iranian beast with 4 plus pitches who is coming over right before his prime. He is positioned to succeed. Matsuzaka was also positioned to succeed, but he was still an inferior pitcher in talent to Darvish & his problems ended up being injury related not really inability to beat major leaguers.

          • Ted Nelson

            Listen, I don’t have some racist bias against Japanese people. It’s just a trend that’s pretty obvious. Very few have sustained success for more than a couple of years. They can be grouped together, because they largely came up through a similar development system. A system that is dissimilar from the US and LA one. It’s not some steadfast scientific rule, it’s a trend.

            No. Ohka put up his best years at 26 and 27, but wasn’t able to sustain them even into his late 20s.

            He didn’t come in with guns blazing, but Irabu did fade really hard, really fast.

            Neither Suzuki nor Ishii sustained any success.

            The theory is that moving to fewer days rest is hard for Japanese SPs, so Dice-K fits with it.

            If you think that Yu Darvish is guaranteed to have 5 fWAR seasons every year from now on… good for you.

            • Jerkface

              But what you are describing is just the way most pitching goes. The problem with looking at the Japanese subset is that there simply isn’t enough players, nor players playing at the most beneficial ages.

              And I don’t buy the days of rest thing, if it was such a big deal we wouldn’t have guys converting from relief to starting. Once they get on the schedule, it will be easier for them.

  • toad

    From a technical point of view, a reasonable substitute to the sealed bid approach would be a “second-price” sealed bid auction.

    You still make blind bids, but the high bidder pays only the amount of the second-highest bid. Sounds weird, I know, but the end result, in theory, is the same price the winner would pay in an open auction.

    Say you think a player is worth a $50 million posting fee. Then bid $50 million without worrying about overpaying. If yours is the high bid you pay just what the second high bidder was willing to pay (or think of it as a dollar more). So you’ll get the player for what you thought he was worth or less. If you are not the high bidder that means someone else was willing to bid more than you were. You don’t get the player, but since the price was more than you were willing to pay you shouldn’t care.

    In short, bidding more than $50 mil runs the risk of overpaying, while bidding less runs the risk of losing a guy you were willing to pay more for.

    • Laz

      I’d still like to see the players get more of the money. For how good Darvish is supposed to be he is getting less than $10M aav. Maybe even open it up so the top 2-3 bidders get the chance to negotiate at the highest bid. Japanese teams hold the players rights for like 9 years, posting system is awful for the players.

      • toad

        I don’t disagree.

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

    Good for MLB. They control the market so there’s no reason their teams should be subjected to that blind auction crap.