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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Japanese Pitcher Tanaka Won’t Be Let Go, Reports Say

By keeping Tanaka for at least another year, the Eagles would forgo a $20 million compensatory posting fee from the major league team that ultimately signed him. But they would enhance their chances at repeating as champions in Japan, and they would avoid millions of dollars in lost ticket, food and merchandise sales.

MikeTorrez Posted: December 19, 2013 at 11:04 AM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: japanese baseball

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   1. DL from MN Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4620849)
Sucks that Tanaka won't be playing at the highest level available.
   2. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4620891)
I kind of knew this would happen when the posting fee was caped at $20 million. If his team could have gotten twice that, they might have posted him. This system might actually prevent the top talent from leaving Japan.
   3. tfbg9 Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4620894)
Good. Japanese people deserve good baseball too.
   4. Randy Jones Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4620895)
So tell us again how the new posting rules are better for Japanese players?
   5. john_halfz Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4620899)
So in its haste to prevent the Yankees from acquiring Tanaka, MLB has effectively guaranteed that he'll sign with Boston after the 2014 season? Nice work, Bud.

The article is misleading. The team controls his rights after next year, as well, and are not foregoing the posting fee, just delaying when they'll get it (and, in the process, utilizing their asset for another year).
   6. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4620902)
MLB has effectively guaranteed that he'll sign with Boston after the 2014 season?


Why would the Yankees not be in on the bidding for Tanaka?
   7. john_halfz Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4620903)
[6] They will be, or could be. But what's the more attractive destination? The team that just competed in the postseason, or the team that won 82 games? Boston will have the payroll flexibility after 2014 to match NYY's offer.
   8. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4620906)
[6] They will be, or could be. But what's the more attractive destination? The team that just competed in the postseason, or the team that won 82 games? Boston will have the payroll flexibility after 2014 to match NYY's offer.


The Yankees don't need payroll flexibility to make an offer, just the desire to make the offer.
   9. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4620908)
They had C.J. Nitkowski on MLB Network and they were asking him about Tanaka. Nitkowski had gone over to Japan and pitched there. He said that he would put Tanaka somewhere between Darvish and Matsuzaka in ability. He said he thought Tanaka would be a #2 in an MLB team's rotation. He said that his NPB team (I forget which it was) had faced Tanaka in his first NPB game. Tanaka went straight from high school to NPB a la David Clyde back in the 70's going from high school to the Rangers.
   10. john_halfz Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4620909)
The Yankees don't need payroll flexibility to make an offer, just the desire to make the offer.


And Boston will be able to match anything that roughly approximates a "reasonable" offer. So I guess, the likely options in my mind are:

1) Boston signs with an offer that matches NYY's.
2) NYY signs for more years than prudent for much more money than prudent to avoid losing out to Boston.
   11. JJ1986 Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4620910)
The Cubs are going to have a lot more payroll space available than either New York or Boston.
   12. jmurph Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4620942)
They will be, or could be. But what's the more attractive destination? The team that just competed in the postseason, or the team that won 82 games? Boston will have the payroll flexibility after 2014 to match NYY's offer.


While this is fun to read, as a Red Sox fan, let's not go penciling Boston into the playoffs again just yet. I think they have less question marks than the Yankees do, but I very much doubt that they'll project to run away with the division. And, regardless, I'm sure the Yankees will remain a strong draw for free agents, especially international ones.
   13. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4620949)
Is there a good reason why the Dodgers won't just sign all these Japanese players? Ownership seems willing to spend gargantuan sums of money, and LA is much closer to Japan with a larger Japanese population than NY, BOS, or CHI.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4620964)
When he throws
He swings his arms, instead of his hips
Teams just love his win-loss mark, instead of his FIP
The Yanks waited for him for so long
They waited for him for so long
The Yanks wondered if they could hang on
The Yanks wondered if they could hang on

"Let me go," he said
"Let me go," he said
Let me go and I can make some more
Let me go, let me go
Let me go and I can make some...
   15. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4620977)
Is there a good reason why the Dodgers won't just sign all these Japanese players? Ownership seems willing to spend gargantuan sums of money, and LA is much closer to Japan with a larger Japanese population than NY, BOS, or CHI.]


And the Dodgers have some pretty cool Japanese cred with Nomo, Saito, and Kuroda (letting him go was a huge mistake by Neddy, but it was more McCourt driven). Oh, and Ishii too. And they have lots of money now.
   16. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 19, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4621009)
The latest report is that the Eagles' decision is not final and discussions are ongoing. I'm wondering if they're negotiating some kind of deal where they get a cut of Tanaka's eventual American salary.

Is that even legal?
   17. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4621019)
No, but what happens under the table stays under the table. Also, it's been rumored that some previous postee got under the table payments from their former NPB teams under the old system (like Darvish, Matsuzaka).
   18. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: December 19, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4621036)
Thread Death? I thought that I = Thread Death.
   19. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 19, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4621044)
I can see the Eagles' point in all this. This is a team that was only founded in 2005, and won its first Japan Series title this year. The last thing they need, as far as credibility with their fans, is letting their best player go for a reduced price (compared to previous star pitchers). For 50 million, they'd probably let him go. But he's worth more to them, both on the field and off, than letting him go at less than half that price.
   20. SteveF Posted: December 19, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4621067)
Why let him go this year when you can just as easily get your $20 million next year? The discount value/injury risk is exceeded by the additional revenue he generates by pitching for your team.

They should only post him if they think he's at high risk for injury or performance collapse.
   21. Poster Nutbag Posted: December 19, 2013 at 04:11 PM (#4621113)
You guys may have the higher counting totals, but my ratio of posts/thread killingsfar exceeds anyone on the site.
   22. Karl from NY Posted: December 19, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4621125)
So tell us again how the new posting rules are better for Japanese players?


A top player worth more than $20M is unlikely to be posted. So he will wait for free agency before moving to MLB. Then he gets the full amount of his value to the acquiring MLB club, instead of the money being divided between his actual contract and the posting fee.

I'm not sure if that really does work out any better, but that's the logic at least.
   23. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 19, 2013 at 04:40 PM (#4621150)
A top player worth more than $20M is unlikely to be posted. So he will wait for free agency before moving to MLB. Then he gets the full amount of his value to the acquiring MLB club, instead of the money being divided between his actual contract and the posting fee.

I'm not sure if that really does work out any better, but that's the logic at least.

In theory the "no posting cap" option should also net the player top dollar, no?

Let's say the NPB team controls the player for 2 more years:

WARNING -- SIMPLIFYING ASSUMPTIONS RELATING TO TIME VALUE OF MONEY AND OTHER MINUTIAE

MLB Market Value -- $25M/year
NPB Salary -- $5M/year

The posting amount should be $40M more or less

The player should get $5M/year from either MLB or NPB and then $25M thereafter whether posted or not. Right?

With the $20M Cap, the NPB team has no incentive to post the player until the value of their player control is less than $20M, right. They'd always keep the player until the last year probably. But I don't see how the player would make more money.
   24. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4621162)
I suggested an alternative posting system a couple of weeks ago:

The NPB team names a posting price for the player, which is capped at $20 million.
Every team that wants to bid on the player posts that price, and is allowed to negotiate.
Every team that posts the price forfeits 10% of the price to the NPB team, regardless of whether or not the player signs with an MLB team.
If the player signs with an MLB team, the NPB team receives both the posting price from the team that signs him *and* the forfeited percentage from the other MLB teams that bid on him.

This allows smaller budget teams to have an opportunity to sign NPB players, it makes the NPB player essentially a free agent, which maximizes the contract they can get from MLB, it creates a greater incentive (and reward) for the NPB team to post the player, and discourages teams from posting the fee on a player they have no real intention to sign.
   25. Karl from NY Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4621171)
I see what you mean, Ivan. In theory the posting fee should be exactly equal to the value of the NPB club's control rights. Either way, with or without posting, the difference between his free-market value and CBA-constrained actual salary is lost to the player and retained by the NPB club.

So yeah, I don't see what the $20M cap accomplishes for anyone. It only reduces the option space for the NPB team, that they can't sell the player's control rights for full value. I guess maybe it helps MLB teams avoid overpaying into a winner's curse (since by definition the winning posting bidder is the one who most overly misestimated the player's value.)
   26. Adam G Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4621177)
I have nothing more to add other than I completely agree with #24... and was saying this to some coworkers yesterday, except I used 5% in my version :)
   27. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4621178)
MLB Trade Rumors:

11:47am: Rakuten president Yozo Tachibana told reporters in Sendai today that Tanaka could still be posted, as they've yet to make a decision on the matter and discussions are ongoing, according to a report from Sponichi (Japanese link).
   28. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4621183)
So he may or may not be posted? I fully expect Heyman to break news shortly that a mystery league has made a bid.
   29. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4621186)
So he may or may not be posted? I fully expect Heyman to break news shortly that a mystery league has made a bid.


Basically, I think it's an ongoing negotiation and the media is too eager to declare that something definitive has happened.
   30. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4621193)
The NPB team names a posting price for the player, which is capped at $20 million.
Every team that wants to bid on the player posts that price, and is allowed to negotiate.
Every team that posts the price forfeits 10% of the price to the NPB team, regardless of whether or not the player signs with an MLB team.
If the player signs with an MLB team, the NPB team receives both the posting price from the team that signs him *and* the forfeited percentage from the other MLB teams that bid on him.

This allows smaller budget teams to have an opportunity to sign NPB players, it makes the NPB player essentially a free agent, which maximizes the contract they can get from MLB, it creates a greater incentive (and reward) for the NPB team to post the player, and discourages teams from posting the fee on a player they have no real intention to sign.

Larry, why would the NPB team post the player unless they thought they were getting at least the full value of their player control? If that value is $40M, then they'd need at least 10 teams to be interested enough in the player to pay the $2M ante. That seems like a lot.
   31. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4621195)
... and they would avoid millions of dollars in lost ticket, food and merchandise sales.

Doubtful. I didn't know he was even still active, but at his peak Tatanka was no more than midcard-level talent, and not really someone the ham 'n' eggers were paying good money to see as the headliner.
   32. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4621198)
Larry, why would the NPB team post the player unless they thought they were getting at least the full value of their player control? If that value is $40M, then they'd need at least 10 teams to be interested enough in the player to pay the $2M ante. That seems like a lot.


Fine, add a clause that the NPB team can withdrawn the offer if they don't like how many teams submitted the posting fee (but can't re-post the player that offseason).
   33. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4621205)
This translation of the Japanese article has caused me to change my handle:

The 19th, in response to coverage of the press in Sendai city, it’s that tough for the “system but certain as to whether to accept a U.S. Major League Baseball moved in the new posting system Tanaka Masahiro pitcher Tachibana Yozo team president of comfort. , I have comments policy and “will continue to. discussion are not out yet. Teams are undecided talks time with the Tanaka future. ?On this day, Tanaka was such catch in Miyagi K cluster. It said, “you use (Transfers are) determined from properly” and called into question the practice of official MLB ball is that it is easy to slip when compared to Japan. ?Tanaka met with Tachibana president to the 17th, I told the hope of Major League Transfers of off now, but the team side was carried over to the conclusion.
   34. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4621209)
#32 -- This seems promising. I'm not sure that the number of teams willing to post an ante is the best way to determine the compensation to the NPB team though. Maybe it should be a percentage of the MLB contract?
   35. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4621217)
#32 -- This seems promising. I'm not sure that the number of teams willing to post an ante is the best way to determine the compensation to the NPB team though. Maybe it should be a percentage of the MLB contract?


You'd probably need the union to sign off on that, just as with including the posting fee in the luxury tax. Which means MLB would need to give them something in return.
   36. Publius Publicola Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4621222)
So in its haste to prevent the Yankees from acquiring Tanaka, MLB has effectively guaranteed that he'll sign with Boston after the 2014 season? Nice work, Bud.


I don't understand this comment. Please explain.

EDIT: Never mind. I read your follow-up. But this I don't understand either:

2) NYY signs for more years than prudent for much more money than prudent to avoid losing out to Boston.


That's what the Yankees always do. Why does that upset you, since it's been SOP for about 4 decades?

   37. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4621237)
I suggested an alternative posting system a couple of weeks ago:

The NPB team names a posting price for the player, which is capped at $20 million.
Every team that wants to bid on the player posts that price, and is allowed to negotiate.
Every team that posts the price forfeits 10% of the price to the NPB team, regardless of whether or not the player signs with an MLB team.
If the player signs with an MLB team, the NPB team receives both the posting price from the team that signs him *and* the forfeited percentage from the other MLB teams that bid on him.

This allows smaller budget teams to have an opportunity to sign NPB players, it makes the NPB player essentially a free agent, which maximizes the contract they can get from MLB, it creates a greater incentive (and reward) for the NPB team to post the player, and discourages teams from posting the fee on a player they have no real intention to sign.


I don't see how this accomplishes what you want it to. Risking 2m for a chance to sign a player, hurts small teams more, who both have a tighter budget, and less chance of actually signing the player (as with every other free agent). A small team, with an estimated 5% (which I think is probably high for small teams, if anything) chance of signing a guy like Tanaka, effectively they would be paying 20 times the 2m posting fee, plus the 18m difference, for every guy they land, or IOW 58m. I don't see how that is a good use of limited resources for them. On the other hand, a big market team, might have a >20% chance of actually landing the guy, would be paying <28m posting fees per signing, and can more easily afford it.

I don't see how this does anything but lock the smart small teams out Japanese FA's, while wasting money of the... less smart ones.
   38. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4621244)
In theory the "no posting cap" option should also net the player top dollar, no?

Let's say the NPB team controls the player for 2 more years:

WARNING -- SIMPLIFYING ASSUMPTIONS RELATING TO TIME VALUE OF MONEY AND OTHER MINUTIAE

MLB Market Value -- $25M/year
NPB Salary -- $5M/year

The posting amount should be $40M more or less

The player should get $5M/year from either MLB or NPB and then $25M thereafter whether posted or not. Right?

With the $20M Cap, the NPB team has no incentive to post the player until the value of their player control is less than $20M, right. They'd always keep the player until the last year probably. But I don't see how the player would make more money.

I don't think this is the correct way of looking at this. Players are more valuable to MLB than they are to NPB. That's why players get paid more. So while it is entirely possible that an MLB team would give Tanaka 25m per, his value to the Eagles is probably a lot less.

The issue is, that the next year of Tanaka does have value to them, and they can still get the exact same posting fee a year later. Even if the Eagles only value Tanaka at 10m per year (i.e. 5m surplus value after salary), they can keep him for a year, get 5m for that, get 20m posting fee next year, and have aa total value of 25m, instead of the 20m they would get if he was posted now.
   39. ptodd Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:07 PM (#4621338)
The issue is, that the next year of Tanaka does have value to them, and they can still get the exact same posting fee a year later. Even if the Eagles only value Tanaka at 10m per year (i.e. 5m surplus value after salary), they can keep him for a year, get 5m for that, get 20m posting fee next year, and have aa total value of 25m, instead of the 20m they would get if he was posted now.


I believe Tanaka is NPB free agent next year, and an international free agent the year after (after 2015 season). So not sure they could post him next year.

However, even if they could, would Tanaka want to be posted only 1 year from being an international free agent? If the salary differential is only 12 million between NPB and MLB at that point, and the overall value of his MLB contract is 20 million less than it would without the posting fee (since MLB would consider the posting fee as part of the players total costs) , it would make more sense for Tanaka to simply play out his final season.

That's why NPB team usually post a player 2 years before they are international free agents because most players would not accept the posting only 1 year before being an international free agent
   40. KronicFatigue Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:06 PM (#4621383)
Yeah, [38] has it right, I think.

In 2014, MLB teams are willing to post 20m for a player. In '15, teams might be only willing to post 18m. So the NPB team is basically spending 2 million, plus his salary, for the player. I'm hardpressed to find any incentive for a NPB team to post a player "early". The risk of the market collapsing is small, especially because 20 million is such a low threshold.
   41. valuearbitrageur Posted: December 20, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4621785)
The NPB team names a posting price for the player, which is capped at $20 million.
Every team that wants to bid on the player posts that price, and is allowed to negotiate.
Every team that posts the price forfeits 10% of the price to the NPB team, regardless of whether or not the player signs with an MLB team.
If the player signs with an MLB team, the NPB team receives both the posting price from the team that signs him *and* the forfeited percentage from the other MLB teams that bid on him.

This allows smaller budget teams to have an opportunity to sign NPB players, it makes the NPB player essentially a free agent, which maximizes the contract they can get from MLB, it creates a greater incentive (and reward) for the NPB team to post the player, and discourages teams from posting the fee on a player they have no real intention to sign.


I think the real problem is the one size fits all posting fee, it's probably too high for some players to get bids, and too low for the best to play.

They should probably cap max posting fees at say $40M or $50M, and allow any teams matching the high bid to negotiate with player. Works better for lesser players, enough to incent NPB teams to post their best.
   42. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 20, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4621790)
it's probably too high for some players to get bids


Why would this be an issue? It's a 20 million cap, not a 20 million flat fee isn't it?
   43. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 20, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4621804)
Why would this be an issue? It's a 20 million cap, not a 20 million flat fee isn't it?
Correct.
   44. John Northey Posted: December 20, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4621916)
Probably would've been better to work it down slowly, from the (effective) $50 mil that has been reached twice, to $40 mil for now (Tanaka) and drop by $5 mil a year until you get to $20 mil. I suspect MLB would like to just declare all players in non-MLB leagues as free agents and ignore those countries rules but there would be a lot of headaches if they tried.
   45. zenbitz Posted: December 21, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4622262)
What does this have to do with Frank Tanaka?

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