Monday, October 28, 2013

With the Yankees, at last, showing signs of interest in a Japanese player, MLB changes the international posting rules

Over the first 20 years of the bedroom bliss between MLB and Japan, our teams bid in a bizarre blind auction for the rights to Asian stars. Thus, Boston secreted $50 million on Dice-K, and last year, the Yankees stupidly over-bid for a Japanese shortstop they didn't even want. (And then, double-stupidly, they never made the guy an offer, so he stayed home, and we spent a season watching the Alberto Gonzalezes and Reid Brignacs, but - hey - that's another story. Pass the meat loaf.)

Now, as Team Hal prepares to chase Masahiro Tanaka, Hansel Selig: Witch-Hunter has changed the posting rules. It's hard to figure whether it helps or hurts us.

The new rules mean Tanaka would get to pick from the three teams that submit the highest posting fees, then negotiate with one. Instead of shelling out the $70-$80 million that would slam dunk Tanaka, the Yankees might bid $50 million - then increase its offer to the pitcher over the period of the contract. It might also use its  leverage as the marquee team from NYC. It might help us. Or....

This new deal could allow teams like the Redsocks and Cardinals - (i.e. smarter teams than us) - to throw huge posting fees into the mix, and then sit on their hands - like the cheapskate Yankees did last year. Or the guy might want to play on the West Coast. Or with a friend on another team. Or with teams inclined to make larger year-by-year payments than the $189-million, Dollar Store Yankees.

It's not clear how this will go down. Last week, I figured Hal Steinbrenner would tell his coolies, "Damn the money, get this done." Now, there's a new wrinkle, and our front office hasn't always been on the vanguard of exploiting new wrinkles. Considering our rapidly diminishing brand name, along with the ascendancy of Boston, we're the one team in baseball that most needs to sign Tanaka. But the chances of that happening may have just taken a surgical hit.

1 comment:

Alphonso said...

We have VErnon Wells. Why do we need another "toad" pitcher from Japan?