The Latest on Tanaka and the Posting System


For the first time since August 2012, Masahiro Tanaka took a loss on Saturday. The Rakuten Golden Eagles ace allowed four runs on 12 hits and one walk while striking out seven against the Yomiuri Giants in the biggest game of his career — it forced a Game Seven in the Japan Series. Tanaka threw 160 pitches in his fourth complete game in five postseason starts. Those workloads are fairly common in Japan, where they pitch once a week rather than once every five days. His 30-start unbeaten streak came to an end and is the longest in the professional baseball history (by six!).

Update: Tanaka came out of the bullpen and threw 15 pitches to get the save in Game Seven on Sunday. It’s considered an honor for the team’s best pitcher to record the final out of the series in Japan, which is why he was used on zero days’ rest.

The Golden Eagles are expected to post Tanaka after the postseason and the Yankees “are going to be serious players” for the right-hander, who turned 25 on Friday. Jeff Passan posted an update on Tanaka and the reportedly forthcoming revisions to the posting system, so let’s round it up:

  • With teams having few places to spend money, Tanaka is expected to be the most expensive international import in baseball history. Several executives said they expect the posting fee, which won’t count towards the luxury tax, the be in the $75-100M range. The $51.7M posting fee the Rangers paid for the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish is the current record.
  • Tanaka doesn’t have an agent right now. He’s been focused on the playoffs and isn’t sorting through candidates. The timetable for picking a representative is unclear but it’s been speculated he has an agreement with an agent already in place. Obviously he needs to get that figured out before being posted.
  • Progress regarding the posting system changes has been slow because MLB wants to figure out a way to keep down posting fees. Haggling will delay the agreement, which means Tanaka may not be posted anytime soon even though the postseason is a few days from ending.
  • One proposal suggested the winning team would not have to pay the full amount of their bid. Instead, they would find a point midway between the high bid and second highest bid and instead pay that. The Rangers outbid everyone by roughly $20M for Darvish and clubs want some protection in case something like that happens again.


  1. Joey D says:

    I been waiting for a post like this, hopefully we get some good comments!
    I for one want this guy, the talent, age, and makeup of this kid all point to a successful MLB career. I’m not going to sit here and predict the next Greg Maddux type career, but I would be happy if he turned into a Solid #2 for us. Hopefully we will win the posting system. I say 70 million would be the sweet spot, maybe add a few more for good measure. A lot of team want him so its better to be safe than sorry.

  2. Joe R says:

    They should just make a payment system based on their career stats in Japan. That way every team puts in that they want the player for the $25mm fee and the player and a team of his choice get the opportunity to work out a contract.

    • I'm One says:

      Seems like it would be a bit too much to evaluate every player that gets posted and determine a value the MLB teams would need to pay for him. It would probably also limit the amount of money the NPB team gets for their top players (blind posting fee maximizes what they can get). Why would the NPB agree to that?

  3. Robinson Tilapia says:

    This is going to be something. If I were any team, I’d be worries about every other team swooping in here. No one should think they’ve got this in the bag.

    With all the waiting for Alex and Tanaka that’s bound to happen this off-season, I’d say this is the worst possible time to play wait-and-see on everyone else. Get what you need to get. Pay the fucking luxury tax.

    Luckily, I’ve got Hal on speed dial.

    *grabs crotch*

    • radnom says:

      Pay the fucking luxury tax.

      Am I the only one who thinks this would be the worse thing that could happen?

      The front office has spent the last calendar year (and then some) making moves with 189 in mind. For them to blow the budget now, right before achieving its intended benefit, would be the worst kind of impatience and incompetence.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Not really.

        I think you have to look at whether the plan works at every “checkpoint” of sorts along the way. Perhaps the team was happy with its haul last year (I know…), but has a plan in mind this off-season that suddenly may not happen as planned because of the plan. It’s ok to change course if what you thought you could do is no longer possible.

        I’m not advocating spending like drunken sailors. I am advocating doing what’s needed. I also don’t think this team needs a half-roster overhaul in order to remain competitive.

        • Pete says:

          I get the same feeling, like the team has an off-season plan on what they feel will make the team a legitimate contender and if that plan cannot be executed then field the most competitive team they can @ 189.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Well, there clearly is some sort of plan. We keep on reading about how many players the organization has its eyes on. That’s not what I’m referring to at all. I was referring more to radnom’s comment that not committing to 189 at this point would be the worst thing possible. I don’t think that’s true. I have no issue with changing course if the team reads that the playing field has shifted and they want to keep to their mantra of nothing stopping them from remaining competitive.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I completely misread what you wrote, Pete. Sorry. Agree with you completely.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I misread you twice over, actually. I need to stop reading on my phone.

              I agree with the first part. My tea leaves say they punt on 189 in the end. My tea leaves may also be rotten.

    • radnom says:

      Also, this is why the Yankees made a mistake with Darvish. Not because he was guaranteed to be great, but because the posting system significantly reduced the financial risk of the move (in a way that is true for no other team). The team has deep pockets but a rule-enforced budget. They missed a golden opportunity to get a pitcher worth significantly more than his AAV due to the posting system.

      • qwerty says:

        They didn’t want to throw money at another Kei Igawa.

        • Farewell Mo says:

          Thats the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

          The only thing those 2 had in common was they were both Japanese, Darvish only half as a matter of fact.

          • qwerty says:

            And yet, the yankees didn’t even bother to place a serious bid for Darvish for that very reason! Something that is also being overlooked is the fact that there was no room in the rotation for Darvish. The yankees weren’t going to bump Hughes in order to let Darvish pitch.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        That’s the thing with the posting system – there are no guarantees. If a team is willing to go balls-out, as Texas did, and overwhelm everyone else with a bid, there’s not a lot you can do.

        It’s like when someone sets their max bid sky-high in EBay.


  4. CashmanNinja says:

    Pitchers of his age and caliber simply do not hit the market very often. He probably won’t be an ace, but the fact that the posting fee doesn’t count against the payroll is the key. He’ll probably have an AAV of around $10 mil or so, which is a steal. That’s why — and some may criticize me for this — but I wouldn’t even be mad if the Yankees big $100 mil for his rights. The guy is huge in Japan and I’m sure they’ll get some money back from the Japanese market. But the fact of the matter is: he’s young, he’s good, and he’s available. We missed out on Darvish and this time the Yankees have actually done their homework. It isn’t another Kei Igawa (who literally had no real attention on him until the Yankees got him). Tanaka has been in the spotlight and this is the first hiccup he’s had. I just feel like they can’t let a pitcher like this get away. The Yankees have tons of cash they can’t spend elsewhere AND they don’t lose a draft pick AND it doesn’t hurt their plans of getting under $189 mil either. New York has money…use it!!

    • I'm One says:

      I wouldn’t even be mad if the Yankees big $100 mil for his rights.

      I’m totally with you on this. There are far too many question marks with this team, especially around pitching, for the Yankees to take the chance of losing out on this guy. Put up a huge posting fee and do your best to ensure that.

      However, with this being a blind posting, if they put up $100 mil and didn’t get him, I couldn’t be too mad at the FO.

    • Jonathan says:

      They CAN use the money. They’re refusing to spend it. I agree with the very last sentence 100%. Too bad they’re stuck in this $189MM plan.

  5. gbyanks says:

    the video is all strike out but hes not a strike out pitcher?

  6. PrestonI says:

    I just can’t imagine paying 75 to 100 million on the posting fee. I realize teams are rich with cash from their tv deals, but that seems a little crazy to me. Of course it’s not my money so I’m all for signing him.

    • JGYank says:

      Agree. Anything higher than $75M is crazy and will only inflate the amount of future bids. With MLB trying to limit the amount of the bids, I simply don’t see any team posting that much. Apparently he isn’t as good as Darvish so even with the market improving for Japanese players the bid shouldn’t be too much higher if it is at all. I would bid somewhere in the $60M range but that’s just a complete guess at what the winning bid will be around.

  7. pat says:

    I love that windup.

  8. Jack says:

    Too my knowledge Major League Teams do not pay a posting fee to any other country. If his contract has expired, let the ballplayers get an agent and be available too all teams. If Japan or any other country does’t like it let the ballplayers deal with it if they would like to play in the MAJOR LEAGUES!!!!

  9. Delbert Grady says:

    I wouldn’t be mad if the Yankees pay $200 million in the posting fee. It doesn’t count against the luxury tax and the Yankees charge their fans through the nose to support team. I don’t care what they spend. I care that they recognize they are a team lacking any high impact prospects and need to fill out a competitive roster. Because if they don’t at their prices? The It’s going to be more empty seats than just the moat. They are such a poorly run organization right now, I expect them to bid $12 million on Tanaka and talk about how they evaluated the risk and tried their hardest. The whole org talks like losers now. Our GM publicly rooting for the Red Sox? Disgraceful.

    • Mike says:

      Cashman’s probably happy that teams (like Boston) could win even without going over the salary cap.

      Gives him an excuse not to go over.

  10. Jim James says:

    Just make them regular free agents, teams bid for their services as usual then the team that signs the player owes a previously agreed amount to the team the player is leaving before they can officially sign a contract. If the team fails to pay the fee within 10 days of the player accepting their contract offer, they will be fined half the contract value which will be paid to the team in place of the fee…to prevent shady crap like teams offering up bloated deals they never intend to actually sign to prevent/delay a rival from getting the player.

  11. Leg-End says:

    We should go big for this guy, if we get outbid then it should take silly money and thats fine if we lose out to that. But posting something mid-range hoping he falls in our lap would be very annoying.

  12. Will says:

    That’s the best splitter I’ve ever seen. Even more so than Koji’s.

  13. JGYank says:

    I hope we win the bid. I’m curious how this all plays out and what the new posting system is. I don’t think the bids will be too high since MLB and the owners are probably trying to reign them in at least a bit.

    For the Darvish bidding, didn’t the Blue Jays almost win the bid? I don’t the think the Rangers won the bid by $20M.

    • forensic says:

      From the last update on MLBTR regarding Darvish’s posting numbers (ironically written by Mike):

      •Olney says the Blue Jays actually finished third in the bidding for Yu Darvish behind the Rangers and Cubs. No bid was within $35MM of the $51.7MM Texas submitted.

      I’m not sure where Mike got the $35 million from, since I can’t read the Olney’s post he’s referring to here, but I know early reports were that the Blue Jays were close but those were later refuted.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        This is what leads me to believe that there’s going to be a bi more shooting for the moon this time around.

        Every team that thinks they’re going to out-Texas everyone else on Tanaka will bid big, or try to bid bigger than what they think the others will bid.

        To follow the other guy’s logic below, it looks like there was a lot of bed-shitting-related trips to the laundromat.

  14. UncleArgyle says:

    I’m sold. Yankees need to do whatever it takes to win the posting. He does’t need to be an ace for the investment to pay off.

  15. RetroRob says:

    Every time MLB makes a rule chane to decrease costs it actually increases costs. This new posting system will be the latest example.

  16. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    mmm…Yu Darvish…

    Pay it. Then we can let Ichiro go after next year cause they’ll have their token Japanese marketing player.

  17. Kevin Ocala, Fl says:

    Anyone notice that slightly funky delivery? I would think that hitter’s timing is really thrown off, and the ball would probably (of course, from the rear angle I can’t tell) be hard to pick up. And he does have some pretty nasty movement on his pitches. Of course a montage could be made to make Phil Hughes look at least as good, so………

  18. Kevin Ocala, Fl says:

    RetroRob, of course. These guys are really colluding to keep payroll down. Salary caps in name or “rules” are really illegal. But try fighting the point out in court, and if the player were to win, franchises fold up, jobs lost. That’s why the this little “game” goes on in all sports. The athletes are greedy, the owners more so. Can’t say I blame either side.

  19. Gonzo says:

    They should let the player negotiate with every team. Once the player chooses a team and contract he finds perfect for him, they should let his old team approve it.

    The one twist would be that the winning team would owe a percentage of the total contract value as the posting fee. Agreeing to a percentage would be the rub. I could see anything from 50% to 100% working. That’s a big difference though.

  20. Junior says:

    After watching that video, all I can picture right now is this guy throwing that NASTY splitter to Yasiel Puig in the World Series while donning Yankee pinstripes. Somebody send HAL this video. Lets get this guy.

  21. Farewell Mo says:

    All I know is you can’t possibly overstate how badly the Yanks need a young potential ace caliber pitcher. They totally shit the bed by not going hard after Darvish so whatever it takes, they need to get this deal done.

    Right now, their rotation is CC, Nova, Warren, Phelps, Pineda or Nuno which is probably the worst in the division.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I have no clue how anyone could say that any team, as you say, “shit the bed” in not having the winning bid in a blind posting system, especially when Texas’s bid was far and away the highest. They shit the bed because they didn’t blow away the bid from Texas which blew everyone else away? Ok, then.

      There are also a ton of lessons learned by every team post-Darvish which are going to show up here. This is going to get crazy.

      • Farewell Mo says:

        Shitting the bed is bidding $15 million for Darvish which was a save face at least we can say we made a bid offer.

        They bid $27 million for Igawa for Christ sakes. They damn well knew it was gonna take close to and probably more than the Sox bid for Dice K so they might as well not even made an offer if the were gonna bid only $15 million.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          How much they bid is one thing. Not having the winning bid is another. Being 35 mil away from Texas’s big and being 2 mil away still yields the same result.

          • Farewell Mo says:

            Losing out to Texas if they made a reasonable offer is a completely different animal that making a half hearted bullshit bid that had no chance of winning which is exactly what they did.

            They essentially sat by idly with their thumb up their ass while Texas landed a young top 5 starter for nothing more than money. With their resources, thats completely unacceptable.

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