Report: Rakuten “still undecided” about posting Tanaka

The impending 40-man roster crunch
It's (finally) official: Beltran's a Yankee

Via Sponichi (translated by Yakyu Baka): Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana says the team is “still undecided” about whether to post Masahiro Tanaka this winter. They’re still discussing matters with their ace right-hander and there is no timetable for a decision.

A report floating around earlier today indicated Tanaka would not be posted, but it appears that was a game of telephone gone wrong. It was a report referencing reports from Japan, reports no one can seem to find. Rakuten is said to be willing to make Tanaka the highest paid player in NPB history at roughly $8M next season, but that’s still only about half what he’d earn by coming to MLB. So, anyway, there is still nothing to report about Tanaka’s availability. The pitching market is in a holding pattern until there is some resolution.

The impending 40-man roster crunch
It's (finally) official: Beltran's a Yankee
  • graf

    Can Tanaka defect from Japan to America like the Cubans sometimes do?!!!??

    • The Great Gonzo

      MUCH longer boat ride.

    • I’m One

      Well, he’s still under contract. If he broke his contract, he’d probably have to re-pay what he was to make. He’d probably still come out way ahead.

      Anyone know how this would work under Japanese law? Maybe we could “advise” him, and he’d be so appreciative of the support he received from us Yankee fans that he’d sign with the team right away.


      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        “Advise” = “Copious amounts of oral from loose stadium bartenders”

        • I’m One

          Whatever it takes.

        • Mandy Stankiewicz

          LOL this isn’t the Barclays Center, there isn’t a ‘bartender’ under 60…unless you’re including the girls from the DugOut on River Ave.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      30 minutes in and I still can’t come up with a witty response to this, or anything that’s not massively racist.

      Fuck it. Something about platanos and sushi.

    • Caballo Sin Nombre

      Do you mean, “Can MLB decide not to recognize the legitimacy of Japanese pro baseball contracts?”

    • Jax

      He can defect, but it would serve him no good. Unlike the situation with Cuba, MLB has a relationship with the Japan Baseball League. So even if he defects, there’s no way MLB would let him play. Also, defecting means you never get to go back again and see your friends and family. It’s one thing if you’re Cuban, but I’m not sure Japanese people feel the same away about their own country.

      • bpdelia

        Are you under the impression that Japan is cubs or north Korea? It wouldn’t be called defecting to go from Japan to the USA. They call that “moving”. He certainly could do it but there is a gentleman’s agreement to honor each others contact. But there is no “defect” here. Japan is an open democratic society.

  • OldYanksFan

    The NY Times is wrong?

    • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

      I’m Shocked!

      I’m Shocked!

  • Sam

    ESPN New York reports the yanks are ready to move on without him. Not sure how this qualifies as news. Would be more newsworthy if the yanks said they had no plan if he didn’t get posted.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I sure hope they’d be ready.

    • Bo Knows

      Not shocking, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, I’m sure they and every other interested team has contingency plans and are ready to move once word breaks.

  • J

    Would it be lawful for Tanaka to offer Rakuten a piece of his US baseball contract as an incentive to post, i.e., to take away some of the sting of the recent MLB imposed posting cap of $20M?

  • Cuso

    So sick of the fucking game-playing or how Rakuten can try to save face with their fans while obviously holding Tanaka another year out of spite for the lowering of the posting fee.

    Why do you think we’re hearing leaks of the story about Tanaka getting a pay raise to $8M? Because they want to make it look like it might behoove Tanaka to stay – which we all know is bullshit. It only behooves Rakuten…which is fine. It’s their prerogative to keep him.

    But stop playing games and holding up the SP in MLB – WHICH IS CLEARLY WHAT THEY’RE DOING – out of spite. This is just plain petty and spiteful.

    You’re not posting him – fine! Come out and say it, you stupid bastards.

    • Bo Knows

      It’s little funny that the pay “raise” is still about 5+ million dollars less than he could expect in his first contract in the US

    • Rod


    • TWTR

      They may be seeking a public relations strategy to assuage their fans if they let him go.

      If so, it’s understandable that it might take a little time.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      To their defense, they were expecting to collect about five times the posting fee for him.

      That’s 80 million dollars….15 million more than that 65 million none of us would apparently leave on the table if we were Robbie Cano.

    • Gonzo


    • Dan

      It’s not necessarily out of spite, especially if they’re willing to offer him $8m. They may think the added financial benefits of holding onto him (winning the NPB Championship again) is worth more than $20m.

      • Dan

        Not to mention it’s 2 years of added revenue from Tanaka if they forego posting him entirely. The 2 years could definitely be worth more than $20m.

    • RetroRob

      I’m not sure I’d post him if I was the owner. He has more value to them next year than the $20M posting fee, plus he can still get the posting fee the following year. There is some element of risk that he suffers a severe injury (and that’s what it would take), but the odds of that happening are not that high. An injury yes, but not an injury of such a level that no team will post $20M fee.

      And there is an element of spite, too. He lost about $40M, so why not maximize his investment. Get another full year out of the best pitcher in Japan, and post him next year, all while delivering a message that he doesn’t like the new rules?

      He doesn’t own Tanaka anything since by the rules he still has the rights to him. He does own MLB or MLB fans anything either.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    There was an MLBTR piece on an MiLB Tanaka signing somewhere last night that probably gave a few folks some palpitations.

    Soon the truth will come out and it’ll actually be Matt Garza who both negotiated the posting deal AND has an ownership stake in Rakuten.

  • TWTR

    Can the Yankees work out some under the table deal with a company that does business with Rakuten?

  • Stanislaw

    Balder wrote and article on how the Eagles could get more money for Tanaka that makes a lot of sense. May be a bit shady but, who really gives a shit, the Yanks need this guy.

    Check out the article here:

  • Cookiemilk

    Ok time for the Yankees to get tough.

    They should announce that they will NOT be in the bidding for Tanaka this year OR next.

    ‘Know what that means? That means Tanaka can’t get the highest payday the Yankees will offer, Rakuten will be out $20M, and the small market cheapskates and splurgers won’t make any Yankee tax money (what I call the luxury tax because that’s what it really is.) No one would have the balls to give Tanaka $90-100M and if some NL team signs him big deal, he’s not in the AL and the Yankees might face him only once or twice if at all.

    Boston and Texas will not be in on Tanaka. Why would Boston want him after they just won their third World Series in a decade? Texas already spent big on Darvish and stupidly took on Fielder. Detroit won’t be in because they want to lock up Scherzer hence why they traded Fielder. The Angels can’t risk $90-100M after spending $400+M on busts Pujols and Hamilton. Seattle might have the money but I doubt Tanaka’ll want to play for a team who just came off a 91 loss season.

    If the Yankees say fuck this shit Rakuten will post Tanaka. Rakuten is like a girl who can’t make up her mind to go out with a guy and the Yankees are that guy. The Yankees should be like that guy and not wait anymore. Move on and then you’ll see Rakuten say “Wait!”

    • TWTR

      Why risk alienating the player? It’s not like the Yankees have a stable of young ML pitchers with upside. In fact, they may have none.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      This would……not be the plan I’d go with.

    • Gonzo

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there were five $20mm bids for Tanaka whether or not the Yankees bid. I don’t think Rakuten is sweating whether or not a $20mm bid will be there.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner


        I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more than five, either.

        • Gonzo

          I was going to write “at least five” but I don’t have time for a back and forth about which teams would and would not.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Well, then you must be lying.


      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        For goodness sakes, with the new TV money, even the Rays would be silly to not put up the $20M posting fee, even with little to no chance of signing him.

    • Caballo Sin Nombre

      Ummm… how does this hurt Rakutan? It just gives clear sailing to the Cubs by taking out the competition. Rakutan still would get their $20M whenever they want.

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      LULZ. I could easily see a dozen teams bidding $20mm just for shits and giggles. Remember, they only pay it if they then are the winning bidder on his contract.

    • RetroRob

      That would only screw the Yankees. A dozen or two dozen or more teams will be willing to put up the $20M post, which is not all that much. You make it sound as if the Yankees would be the only team in on Tanaka. There will be a number of team who want his service.

  • mustang

    Us Yankees fans are so spoiled we want what we want when we want it.

    I love you guys.

    • Stanislaw

      Reminds me of that Simpsons episode when Moe turns ‘Moe’s’ into ‘Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag’

      MOE: The deep fryer’s here! I got it used from the Army. You can flash-fry a buffalo in 40-seconds.

      HOMER: Forty seconds?! But I want it now!

  • Stanislaw

    I read an article on yesterday about how awesome Tanaka is, how his stuff is great and he should have no trouble adjusting to the American game. After reading it, I was convinced that the Yankees MUST get this guy.

    This morning, after thinking about the article, I remembered a similar article I read around the same time of year (on in 2002 about José Contreras. Now, I’m scared…

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Oh, the hype machine was turned to 100 on both of those.

      This one Tanaka you’re referencing was so beautiful half the guys here were willing to get deflowered by him in order to have him in pinstripes.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        “one Tanaka article”

    • TWTR

      Contreras was really like 50 though.

      • Stanislaw

        Didn’t matter. The article made it seem like he defected by walking across the ocean and that he could strike out batters by merely stepping onto a pitchers mound.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Esteban Loiaza.

          It still burns.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      The Yankees could use 2003-2009 Jose Contreras.

  • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

    ESPN bottom line just said that “according to reports in Japan” Tanaka will not be posted.

    Eh, whatever, I’ll wait for an official announcement.

    • Stanislaw

      FWIW, WFAN has been reporting the same thing since Boomer and Carton were on. I haven’t heard the updated story I’ve read here and elsewhere about the Eagles waiting until Friday. So, ya, I’ll wait too.

    • nycsportzfan

      Hey, every team that wins the WS, always has guys they weren’t expecting to be big contributors, contribute. We got plenty of potential to be just that in Pineda, Nuno, Warren, Phelps, Nova, Claiborne, just 2 name some. I think we’ll be fine. Plus, Matt Garza is still out there and is a pretty good pitcher. Add him to the rotation, and i think its got a chance to be top 5 in baseball.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I don’t know if the link has been posted here somewhere but ESPN posted an article about Tanaka yesterday:

  • Bavarian Yankee
    • Rick

      I maintain taht I still believe Vernon Wells may make this team because of his effect on the luxury tax. Until they absolutely blow past 189, he’s on the squad.

  • nope

    We’re all going to be pissed when Tanaka goes to the Mariners for 10/240.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I laughed.

  • Jedile

    Can the Yankees swing a trade with Rakuten just for cash considerations (and anyone willing to play in japan, maybe Ichiro?) and then sign Tanaka to an extension?

  • Rev-olution

    MLB truly botched this one with their wanton disregard for the validity of the NPB League and its own obsession with creating a economic (pseudo) parity structure to ensure small market teams get the advantages supposedly only available to bigger market clubs.

    What nonsensical logic caused them to believe that a culture rooted in the display of respect and team representative of the recovery from one of the worst tragedies in modern history, would simply bow down and accept the diminished agreement to strip the league of not only it’s most recognizable star but to reduce the reward incentive to go along with the talent pilfering???

    The Golden Eagles just won its FIRST championship with this remarkable phenom pitching an UNDEFEATED season and then adding to his lore with a world class playoff performance where he saved the title game the day after he rung out a 160 pitch outing – this kid is a SERIOUS gamer!!! The team just struck pay dirt and figured that they will offset his revenue loss with a significant posting windfall.

    Then MLB comes along and blindsides NPB with this new structure and thinks it will be acceptable and not create the murky, phallus-wagging standoff we have witnessed for the last month+. Obviously, Uncle Bud and the Castaways at MLB HQ are guilty of some serious mental insufficiency (or other nefarious deeds).

    Seriously lost in this is how special this young man is. I mean let’s consider what he did not just this season (24-0, 1.27 ERA, 0.943 WHIP / 99-35 lifetime with a 2.30 ERA/1.108 WHIP). OMG(oodness)!!! This kid is the real McCoy regardless of whatever league he’s pitching in.

    We don’t have any MiLB’ers pumping out stats like that in the States, so let’s stop the demeaning reference about the NPB being grossly inferior to MLB – they may not be on an even par, but they’re certainly better than our AAA structure. Moreover this is a special kid with a fantastic gift and skill set that wants to do what every athlete wants – to compete against the best and prove he belongs. Both MLB and NPB (particularly the Golden Eagles) need to exercise some temperance in helping foster the dreams of these stellar athletes, not treat them like chattel to be bought and sold at market.

    Just let the kid pursue his dreams and ambitions and play wherever he wants to challenge himself. He has certainly earned that right. As a baseball purist, I for one want to always see the best play against the best, so let’s just allow the kid the chance to prove he has the stuff that made Gibson, Koufax, Ryan, Seaver, Richard, Gooden, Maddux, Martinez, Johnson and Halladay household names as feared SP’s.

    So how about some good ol’ Asian “face saving”, huh? I would suggest something of a “reboot” or simple amendment to the newly ratified agreement that essentially spreads the benefits evenly across the board. Small market teams get to post with the Big Boys; NPB teams get fair compensation for releasing their stars early and players get to play amongst their true peers.

    My solution goes like this: Let’s have all posting teams agree to a percentage of the posting to be surrendered as a non-refundable deposit. It creates a “pay to play” structure. So, if 10 teams were to bid on Tanaka at the $20M cap and a 15% deposit is deemed non-refundable for the teams that don’t win the negotiations, here is the upside:

    9 @ $3M (15%) = $27M

    1 @ $20M = $20M

    Total Posting Revenue (Rakuten): $47M

    It’s fair and equitable while giving all the small market teams the ability to bid on securing the rights to negotiate with a star talent. The deposit is a pittance compared to what MLB teams spend on player costs (i.e. barely the salary of a below average utility player).

    Let’s unblock the logjam and make this lil’ tweak so everyone saves face and the Hot Stove gets fired up properly.

    • Kvothe

      That’s actually not a bad idea. As it stands now there’s really no reason why every team shouldn’t bid the max on Tanaka. A system like the one you would propose would allow a bit of supply and demand to trickle in. Some players (Tanaka, Darvish) would be worth blowing 3m, possibly 20m non luxury taxed dollars on in hopes of signing, some would not be.

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        That’s what I said above. No reason (currently) not to bid $20mm for a guy like Tanaka since you only pay anything IF you then negotiate the deal he wants. Even the Astros would bid, for giggles if nothing else.

        I wouldn’t mind a small fee hit to each bidder to sweeten the pot for the Japanese teams.

        Also, OP, TL;DR

    • karen

      Well said, Rev – olution!!

  • Eddie

    Enough is Enough who cares….Irabu, Igawa, now Masahiro Tanaka Just another misfit….