Rosenthal: Tanaka’s release fee to be paid across two years

Tuesday Night Open Thread
Rebuilt lineup will bring more patience and plate discipline

Via Ken Rosenthal: The $20M release fee for Masahiro Tanaka will be paid out in two installments — $13M in 2014 and $7M in 2015. Under the old system, the posting fee had to be paid out in one lump sum as soon as the player signed. The installment plan was added to the new system as a way to give smaller market clubs a better chance of landing the player, which … whatever. MLB continues to bend over backwards for the small markets. This doesn’t really impact the Yankees.

Tuesday Night Open Thread
Rebuilt lineup will bring more patience and plate discipline
  • RetroRob

    If small market teams can’t afford the $20M posting fee, I’m not sure they’ll be able to afford the $20M+ yearly salary for any player worthy of the posting fee!

    I’m really surprised the Japanese leagues agreed to some of these things.

  • Pseudoyanks

    “MLB continues to bend over backwards for small markets.”

    Can we agree this is good for Major League Baseball? Every thing they have done has pushed to level the playing field.

    • I’m One

      Sure, we can agree on that. If MLB wants to ensure the smaller teams actually spend the money on players as opposed to profits, then I’m all for it. However, I’m mostly interested tin the Yankees.

    • RetroRob

      No, not necessarily. We need to see more time with these recent changes. We do know that the competitive balance in baseball was still excellent before these recent changes.

    • Jerome S.

      Come on, be a fanatic.

    • Just Say Nyet

      I guess this is leveling the playing field, in the sense that making Mike Trout play ball wearing combat boots is level the playing field for the other team. It’s entirely un-American to continually put a thumb on the scale of “fairness”, always in the same direction, and even after the Yankees are forced to subsidize half the league to the tune of….well, the league no longer reveals how much money is taken from the Yankees every year and lavished on the Jeffrey Lorias of the world because it was embarrassing.

      If you want fairness then this bidding for Tanaka shows us a more equitable path than the socialist welfare schemes preferred by Bud Selig and his cronies – allow teams to sell their players to other teams. Young, cost-controlled players are the most valuable commodity in baseball, and the league now even gives free draft picks to unpopular teams as another nudge against fairness. The Marlins could have gotten perhaps $100 million for Giancarlo Stanton a year or so back and used that money to…well, it would have gone straight in their owner’s personal slush fund, but at least another team would get something out of the deal. Now they’re just giving billionaire owners perpetual welfare.

      • Pseudoyanks

        Welfare socialist schemes? Baseball is NOT a Free Market. If it were, you and I could start a baseball team tomorrow. Baseball is an Oligopoly. It is regulated. It is controlled. Better for baseball means simply that having 30 teams with an opportunity to compete (similar to the NFL, NBA, etc.), 30 cities with excited and engaged fan bases, a National Sport with the opportunity to be competitive in any given year, makes the whole sport better for more people.

        • Just Say Nyet

          If there were 30 cities with excited and engaged fanbases we wouldn’t have a dozen franchises crying that they’ll go out of business without an endless flow of free money confiscated from the popular and successful teams.

          Somebody ask former WalMart CEO and current Royals owner David Glass how he feels about wealth redistribution in the interest of fairness. You already know the answer – good for the right kind of people, but a terrible moral hazard for the poors, prone to make them lazy and dependent and sap their American gumption. Then he’ll probably hit you up for cab fare.

          • Dr. TJ Eckleberg

            I don’t love some of these changes, the celery cap makes me a little crazy, but I understand it. If you take the problem (non-uniform distribution of resources) to a logical extreme you would see the point of some of this structural interference.

            For example, what fun would it be if the Yankees, in one of the biggest sports markets in the world, played in a league where the second biggest city in the league was a place like…I don’t know…Louisville. The Yankees make 10 times the revenue of any other team, and therefore outbid everyone for free agents. You have guys like Lester as a middle reliever. Now, that would be ‘fair’, the Yankees ‘earn’ their money and can spend it how they want. It wouldn’t be that interesting, though. It’s kind of like when you play “The Show” and force trades. You end up with a team of all stars and the game isn’t fun anymore.

            Anyway, I have learned that I have to leave my economic proclivities at the door when it comes to baseball. It really is better for the sport, I believe, when Kansas City can have a realistic shot of winning every year.

            • Just Say Nyet

              The obvious counterbalance to that is that the single most valuable commodity in baseball is the pre-arbitration player, and the system is already heavily weighted to giving these valuable players to small market teams, to the point of screwing each and every one of these players at every opportunity. If the Yankees were willing to pay huge money to make John Lester a middle reliever, who are you to tell John Lester that he should risk his family’s future just to ensure that the billionaire ownership of his team can keep him on the plantation?

              Who would you rather have – Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, or Giancarlo Stanton and their artificially-depressed contracts, or any player on the Yankees with all of their big-money deals? Focusing on the money is a slight of hand trick. If all you needed was money to make players better we could just give everyone a raise.

      • Caballo Sin Nombre

        Pseudoyanks is right. MLB is one big business with franchises. The clubs do not “compete” in the business sense, any more than two divisions of the same corporation might (for funding, internal resources, etc.)

    • pat

      Until MLB institutes a salary floor they can’t honestly say they’re trying to level the playing field.

      Loria took over the Marlins in 2002. Between 2002 and 2010, the Marlins got around $300 million in revenue sharing and banked at least $154 million of it in pure profit.

  • cooolbreeez

    I’ve never heard an explanation as to why the NBL accepted these terms. Why would they go from getting $50mm+++ to $20mm? There must be more to the picture than meets the eye.

    • Preston

      MLB could choose to not honor NBL contracts at all. That would mean any Japanese player could come at any time without paying anything to his former team. Good luck to a Japanese team trying to enforce their Japanese player contracts in US courts.

    • bernbabybern

      Cause they have no leverage at all. Technically, MLB could just poach the players. They do it with Cuba.

      • forensic

        They couldn’t just ‘poach’ them. Cuban players defect from their Country and whatever contracts they have there aren’t recognized. That’s not at all what would happen with Japan. MLB couldn’t just go in there and take whatever players they want. Japanese players wouldn’t defect from their Country.

        It’s just that the NPB teams would risk losing their players after nine years for nothing when they would become international free agents under their league rules.

        • Laz

          You don’t have to defect from your country to move. If MLB really wanted to they could sign the Japanese players right out of HS, but they have agreements with the league.

          • forensic

            Yeah, I phrased it poorly (should’ve been quotes around ‘defect’), but the point still stands. There are agreements between those leagues, and not the Cuban leagues, where MLB wouldn’t seek out trying to get those players and those players wouldn’t just bail on their contracts and league.

      • Mikhel

        MLB doesn’t do it with Cuba, there’s an “agreement” in that MLB teams do not go for players who defect in the WBC, for example, that’s why Cuban players do not defect and if they do, they are not signed (same with the Caribbean Series this year).

        Remember what MLB did when Cuba intended to enter the Caribbean Series and MLB decided not to renovate their agreement, prohibiting ANY player signed to a MLB/MiLB contract to play winter ball in México/Dominicana/Puerto Rico/Venezuela IF Cuba was included.

        In the end the caribbean assoc. agreed not to include Cuba and MLB backtracked, allowing players to go and play winter ball… and after they talked with Cuba (and after Cuba demanded a certain amount of millions of dollars owed to them by MLB), MLB agreed to allow Cuba to play JUST this year because it will be held in Venezuela and they’ve agreed to put extra guards to make sure not a single Cuban abandons the Villa Clara team (their champion)… in other cases other countries have denied Cuba the chance to put guards and use police/soldiers to basically hold captive the players; a few years ago before a panamerican games event there was a BIG BIG discussion when Mexican officials said that anybody was free to roam Mexico as long as they don’t commit a crime and since a baseball player has a permit to be in mexican territory it is illegal to hold them captive and Cuba even demanded to be paid the double of what other national baseball selections were paid.

    • forensic

      Getting $20 million is better than getting nothing.

      • Mikhel

        It was reported that Rakuten made more than $20 millions of dollars in merchandise and other concepts tied to Tanaka’s season and championship, an amount they expected to make again in 2014 and maybe even in 2015; but in Japan there’s something that’s been lost in other cultures: respect for a player’s decision, Tanaka wants to play in MLB and Rakuten owners felt like he has given them enough so as to post him to grant him his wish,

        • Chris

          Ehhhh, that’s not completely true. It was more the public relations nightmare that would have ensued had they said no. He publicized his intention and then put it on the owners, but by that time, the media was all over it and denying him the opportunity to play here would have made the team look dictatorial, especially if he got injured next season. Rakuten protested the posting system changes into the 11th hour from what I understand. They didn’t have to let him go at all and it was never clear that they were going to.

          Last year, Yoshio Itoi insinuated that he wanted to go to the majors, his team promptly traded him to another team in the NPB and he’s still there so… yeah. Shohei Otani said he wanted to go straight to the majors and specifically said he would decline any attempt to draft him, so to respect his decision and not draft him. Well, he was drafted and he accepted, which is why you don’t hear about him over here. He was the young kid with the almost 100mph fastball the Yankees were looking at a few years ago. Had we gotten him over here, he might just be a top 10 pitching prospect right now. And these are just the main Hokkaido ones that I know of in the last 2 years, since that’s the team I follow. NPB teams are run for the most part by huge corporations, I love the style of play there, but I would not hold up the way they run their teams as an example of proper baseball etiquette. Especially not by American standards.

  • forensic

    This isn’t exactly big news from Rosenthal. We already knew the release fee was being paid in installments, it just wasn’t clear what they were, and it really wasn’t all that important anyway.

  • BK2ATL

    With this, the Yankees need to challenge the luxury tax system immediately. This is crazy.

    • TWTR

      Given Hal’s original plan to attempt to get under the $189m threshold, it’s reasonable to think that they like the system even though it’s possible that they net more money by vastly exceeding the threshold.

      • Just Say Nyet

        Wait, you think the Yankees LIKE paying a 50% penalty for paying players, ON TOP of the $100 million+ confiscated from them each and every year? I remember Hank Steinbrenner gently mentioning this topic a few years back and Bud’s office threatening to discipline him for doing so.

  • Eselquetodolosabe

    In addition, small market clubs will pay their fee costs as 20mm yen. Competitive balance rules !

  • Joe Haven

    The new system is flawed against the Japan League Team. What should have been added was all the teams that want to get into the bidding. Post a non refundable 10 percent of the posting fee. In this case it being 2 million just to have the chance to talk to the player. Then the winner who signs the player pays the additional 20 million. This way its fair to the Japan League Team. If seven teams want the chance to talk to the player that would be an additional 14 million going to the Japan League Club.

    • leftylarry


      What’s fair about the Japanese leagues not letting their players make the money instead of the teams?
      If American teams did that, there would be an outcry of slavery or something.

      • Mikhel

        MLB already has that same rule in place, a player can’t decide with what team he’ll sign after college because he has to go to the draft and either refuse to sign, go to an independent league and then sign or wait a few years and sign when he is older and of less value.

        And even still, a player can’t decide to play for other team for what? his first 5 seasons? For that amount of time he’s basically (to use your analogy) “a slave”.

        Want even more? players are required NOT TO do a lot of things specified in their contracts or their contract could end up being invalidated, they can’t ride on horses, can’t use a motocross, can’t paraglide, can’t fly aeroplanes, etc… but hey, it’s the USA (because America comprises all the countries from Canada in the north, to Argentina in the southern part of the same continent)… USA, land of the free… unless you’re signed by a MLB team and are restricted to do lots of things.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          Yeah you went too far–once you included the restrictions of a freely signed contract your argument lost all sense.

  • Joe Haven

    I am also wondering why the posting fee was so low? Is it because of a secret deal MLB has in place with the Japan League. Maybe its the start to bring in the Japan League Teams into the MLB system as an expanded world league. We will see?

    • Mikhel

      Very very hard to do, unless you’re in a specific zone. In Asia they have the Asian Series with a high level of play (Australia beat Japan, Korea, etc. and became the champion), in the Caribbean we have the Caribbean Series since more than 40 years (this year Mexico the current champion will play vs Dominicana, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Cuba) and the Panamerican Series (Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Colombia).

      There was a plan to include the US (Arizona Fall League) in the caribbean series but that plan didn’t materialize. Who knows? maybe they would be the black horse, the surprise team in a region with an awful lot more talent than the US and with leagues with a far and away higher level than the Arizona Fall Leagues, and it shows in the attendance. Teams of the Az. Fall League can hardly average more than 2,000 people per game (I got free tickets to the All Star game and still the stadium was not full), while games in México and Venezuela regularly draw 13,000 to 20,000 people in attendance in cities that have less than half a million of population.

      Right now teams are in the playoffs in México and the noise, oh the noise, the ambient of the crowd and the whole experience of Winter Baseball in a stadium packed with 18-19,000 people (more or less the highest amount of people a stadium in winter can hold) with the cold (constantly at or near 0ºC).

      Search for Purakura, a webpage with the playoffs, Mexicali (basically my home team, 2 hours away from the city I live in) already advanced to the semifinals, Hermosillo and Los Mochis have a 3-2 advantage in their series (resumes tomorrow).

      • Chris

        Mikhel you follow Asian baseball? I couldn’t believe Australia won. That absolutely blew my mind.

  • Get Phelps Up (looking for a new name)

    I don’t think the $20M fee was ever the issue for small market teams. The $100M+ that they’ll have to offer in a contract was the problem.

    • Ed

      $20m over 2 years + $100m over 6 years is a very different financial commitment than $50m due immediately plus $50m over 6 years.

      I’m not doing the math, but the new system is likely cheaper once you factor in inflation, and the more even distribution of money is probably a lot easier to stomach for the mid-market teams.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        The new system means more money for MLB, more money for the player (I think, we’ll see), and less money for the Japanese team.

  • MaKun Migraines

    Even millionaires can appreciate EZ Pay installments.

    With news Tanaka is to visit Chi teams, likely beginning his league wide courtship and with each break expect fan blog readers to type in chorus…. Get it done, (Respective GM’s nickname here)!

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      Even millionaires can appreciate EZ Pay installments.

      Funniest thing I’ve read this week.

  • Brian

    Ehh, this one doesn’t bother me too much. It’s not like the hard slots in the draft or skewed international signing pools that put big markets at a disadvantage. This just makes it more like conventional free agency where the big markets have the advantage anyway.

  • LarryM Fl

    Some very interesting comments offered in the comments section. Yes it does seem that most new impacts of financial considerations are helpful to the small markets. But we must not forget anything of this nature are a come down from the past. The Yankees were dominating these financial considerations. So if it makes baseball more competitive.I’m all for it.

    The Yankees have a great business plan to make money but maybe the business plan and the Mission Statement of winning every year has to be tweaked. If your are going to run out a 38 year old third baseman, 40 year old shortstop, a possible 36 year old second baseman and a 33 year old first baseman something is wrong in the Bronx.

    Please change Yanks.