I thought I might come home from vacation to discover some sort of progress in the posting status of Masahiro Tanaka, but no such luck. In the past week, very little has changed about the posting system stalemate that’s kept Tanaka unavailable to major league teams.
While a handful of short-term, risk-reward starters have come off the market — Dan Haren and Josh Johnson on one-year deals, Tim Hudson for two years (plus a gutsy four-year deal with Jason Vargas) — Tanaka is still looming in a state of uncertainty, and he seems to be the Yankees top choice because posting system fees have never counted toward luxury tax calculations. Assuming that remains true, the Yankees could spend big to sign Tanaka with relatively minimal impact on their $189-million goal.
According to Jon Heyman, officials from Japan are coming to New York this week to try to work out a new posting system agreement. Heyman cites reports of Japanese officials moving toward a system similar to the old system in which the highest blind bid wins the right to negotiate with the player in question. Although there is said to be “renewed hope” for a agreement, a report in the The Japan Times quotes the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles team president saying he doesn’t expect an agreement until mid-December.
“Considering the way things are done in the United States, once the Winter Meetings are over (Christmas vacation) slows things down and there isn’t much going on,” Tachibana said. “I think that would be a key time.”
Put the posting system situation on the same list with the Alex Rodriguez suspension and the Robinson Cano negotiations. The Yankees need these issues to be resolved sooner rather than later.