Is Masahiro Tanaka's immediate MLB future in doubt?

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Masahiro Tanaka

Major League Baseball loves to go crazy for high-profile Japanese players ready to make the leap to the United States.

Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is the latest Japanese product to get teams all worked up, but changes in the posting system could potentially put his MLB plans on hold.

Under the former system, Japanese teams in the Pacific and Central Leagues were able to post a player up for bid who had between one to eight years of experience (they become full free agents after nine seasons).

An American team could then post a bid for that player and, if that team won the bidding process, was given an opportunity to sign the player. The blind bid would then be given to the team that lost its player through this process.

To give some perspective on how out of control that spending has gotten, the Texas Rangers paid a record $51.7 million just for the chance to sign Yu Darvish, which they were able to do in a six-year, $60 million contract.

Needless to say, Major League teams are not happy with the nearly-blind spending sprees they have to go on to sign these players, or even meet with them. That’s why a new proposal is in place that would change the system.

As of now, the Japanese have yet to accept the revisions, which include measures to protect MLB clubs. For instance, a team with the highest bid still wins the negotiating rights to a player, but it only has to pay the average price of the top two bids, preventing any team from running wild to outbid everyone else.

There is also a possibility that teams that win the negotiating rights and fail to sign the player will be fined.

Until the new posting changes are accepted, nothing can happen to any Japanese players, including Masahiro Tanaka.

But with the thought that his own posting bid will exceed Darvish’s record amount, one can assume the system will be put in place as soon as possible.

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