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New posting system nears resolution

Kyodo

Nippon Professional Baseball is hoping to strike an agreement on a new posting system with Major League Baseball by Thanksgiving’s Day, an NPB official said Monday.

Nobuhisa Ito, head of NPB’s legal department, said an NPB delegation will travel stateside on Tuesday to iron out the details on a new bidding system for Japanese players who have yet to reach free agency.

If all goes well, Ito said, the two parties could come to terms by Thursday ahead of the American holiday weekend.

“We will be informing all the clubs in both Japan and the United States the day it happens,” Ito said. “They will be going over and approving the agreement pretty much as we go along.”

MLB withdrew its proposal earlier this month, arguing that the Japanese side had taken too long to act. The proposal had set the winning fee at a figure in between the two highest bids, and if a team failed to sign the Japanese player it would be fined.

Under the expired old deal, non-free agents from Japan wanting to play in the majors were put up for a blind bid to MLB’s 30 teams. The highest bidder had an exclusive 30-day negotiating window to sign the player, but if it failed the player was sent back to his Japanese team.

A new bidding system must be agreed if Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles’ ace Masahiro Tanaka is to play in the majors next season.

The biggest teams in the United States like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers have expressed interest in the 25-year-old Tanaka, who went 24-0 during the regular season for the Japan Series champions and put together a record 28-game winning streak dating back to last season.