The Japanese baseball players association has accepted revisions to the current posting system that allows Japanese players ineligible for free agency to move to the majors, limited to a period of two years, Toru Matsubara, executive director of the association, said Thursday.
The formal agreement makes it possible for Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka, the two-time Sawamura Award winner who went a perfect 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA during the regular season for the Japan Series champions, to move to the major leagues under the system this offseason.
Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball will create an article for the revision which is set to be approved by an NPB committee on Monday.
If approved by the 12 pro Japanese clubs, players could start applying to move under the system this month.
Under the new system, the highest bidding major league team would still be awarded exclusive rights to negotiate with Japanese players, but Japanese teams would receive the fee set as the average figure of the top two bids. Any team which fails to sign the Japanese player during the exclusive negotiating window would be subject to a fine by MLB.
The players association demanded that the current nine-year club service needed in Japan to qualify for international free agency be shortened.
It has complained that the revisions are of no real merit for the Japanese side, but Toru Matsubara, executive director of the association, said, “There was not enough time on our side and we haven’t got any more bargaining power than this. It was an agonizing decision (accepting the revisions).”
Tanaka is currently in Taiwan with the Eagles for the Asia Series getting under way on Saturday, but he refused to comment on whether he would move to the U.S. next season, saying, “I have to speak to the club first.”