ORLANDO FLORIDA – Major League Baseball is withdrawing its proposal for a new bidding system with Japan, making it uncertain whether prized pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be on the market this offseason.
MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said Japanese officials had not acted quickly enough on MLB’s proposal for a new agreement and that a new proposal will be forwarded.
“We warned them, told them if this sat too long, there could be shifting winds out there, and suffice it to say there are shifting winds,” Manfred said.
Under the posting system agreed to in December 1998, more than a dozen Japanese players have moved to MLB before the nine years of service time they would have needed to become a free agent. Under the system, MLB clubs submit bids, and the highest bidder has 30 days to reach an agreement with the player.
Boston obtained pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka from the Seibu Lions before the 2007 season for $51.1 million, and Texas got pitcher Yu Darvish from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters before the 2012 season for $51.7 million. Those figures don’t include the players’ contracts.
“I think the concerns with the system was it was a blind bidding process that led to inflated numbers,” Manfred said, “and that those inflated numbers make that market unavailable to a broad cross-section of our teams.”
Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA during the regular season for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Without an agreement, Japanese players would not be able to sign with MLB clubs until they had nine years of service time.
“If that’s the way we get Japanese professionals, I think that the 30 major league clubs are prepared to live with that result,” Manfred said.
Instant replay expanded
Another MLB tradition is about to largely disappear: A manager, with a crazed look in his eyes, charging the field and getting into a face-to-face shouting match with an umpire.
Instead, most calls on the field next season will be subject to video review by umpires in New York.
MLB took the first vote in a two-step process on Thursday, unanimously approving funding for expanded instant replay in 2014.