This afternoon, Patrick Newman of NPBTracker tweeted a link to a Japanese report saying Nippon Professional Baseball has agreed to a posting system change that limits the amount a Major League team can spend on a posting fee. The limited is reportedly set at $20 million.
At the time, that seemed like incredibly bad news for the Yankees, whose best hope of landing Masahiro Tanaka seemed to be a massive posting fee that would guarantee exclusive negotiating rights.
Now, with new information, the news is still not great for the Yankees, but it’s not quite as bad as it might have been.
According to Joel Sherman and others, the new posting system will include a $20-million limit, but it will also leave negotiations open to any team that’s willing to pay that much. In other words, if the Yankees agree to a maximum posting fee — which they almost certainly will in the case of Tanaka — they at least guarantee themselves a fighting chance to sign Tanaka through a typical offseason negotiation, going up against every other team that bid $20 million.
This is, of course, assuming Tanaka’s team agrees to post him under the current system.
As far as I can tell, the problem for the Yankees is that Tanaka will now get a contract that more closely fits his open-market value. The posting fee will be relatively minimal compared to what it would have been under the previous system, which means Tanaka will likely be able to get a much larger contract for himself as multiple teams bid without the additional weight of a larger positing fee. And assuming the usual rules still apply, that larger contract — unlike the posting fee — will count toward the luxury tax threshold.
Earlier this winter we learned that small-market teams had argued the posting fee should be included in luxury tax considerations, and large-market teams — including the Yankees — had argued otherwise. In a way, I guess this is sort of the middle ground.
This new posting system seems to complicate things in regard to the Yankees $189-million goal, but then again, the Yankees haven’t exactly acted like a team that’s overly concerned about making absolutely sure it reaches that number.
Associated Press photo