Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana revealed Monday that his team has responded to a warning letter issued by Major League Baseball over perceived irregularities regarding the posting of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
An issue arose when the pitcher commented last month that he would like to help out the club in ways such as donating to the overhaul of its ballpark. MLB issued a warning to the Eagles, demanding they observe the regulation that prevents Japanese clubs from receiving any value other than the fee they can charge big league clubs in the posting system. New regulations limit that fee to $20 million.
“All we wrote is that we will observe the letter of the terms in the agreement,” Tachibana said of the response his team sent to Nippon Professional Baseball for delivery to MLB.
The new agreement, which went into effect in December and will run for three years, was concluded despite the objections of the Eagles. Had the previous posting agreement remained in force, the Eagles would have stood to reap a vastly larger windfall than $20 million for Tanaka’s release.
Tanaka’s comments provoked an angry response from MLB over the possibility that the Eagles may be trying to circumvent the new rules.