Mar 17, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Japan fans during the ninth inning of the World Baseball Classic semifinal against Puerto Rico at AT

Report: Rakuten owner may not post Masahiro Tanaka

The new posting agreement between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball has at least one Japanese owner feeling slighted.

The agreement calls for posting fees to be limited to $20 million, and any team posting that fee can then negotiate with said-player, as has been widely reported.

The owner in question here so happens to be Rakuten Golden Eagles owner Hiroshi Mikitani – who ultimately controls the fate of perhaps the most intriguing pitching prospect of the offseason, Masahiro Tanaka.

According to a report from baseball guru Peter Gammons, Mikitani is considering not posting Tanaka at all.

Here is an excerpt from Gammons’ report:

Mikitani is the one Japanese owner who strongly opposed the new agreement, and Wednesday suggested in an interview that he would not post Tanaka, who isn’t a free agent for two more years. “It’s a terrible deal for a Japanese owner,” says one MLB executive. “I don’t blame Mikitani.”


It just so happens that the 25-year old Tanaka is in the sites of the Yankees, Dodgers and other MLB teams interested in signing him. Because he will not be a free agent until after the 2015 season, he must be posted by Rakuten, and Mikitani Wednesday said, “I don’t intend to post him.” [Gammons Daily]

Tanaka went 24-0 last year for the Golden Eagles while posting a 1.27 ERA over 212 innings.  Over a seven year NBP career, Tanaka has gone 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA, 1238 strikeouts, 275 walks and a 1.10 WHIP over 1315 IP.

Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers Masahiro Tanaka MLB New York Yankees Seattle Mariners

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