Masahiro Tanaka is coming to America after all. The Rakuten Golden Eagles announced Wednesday that they have changed their minds and will post the star right handed pitcher, paving the way for his Stateside move.
MLB teams willing to put up the maximum $20 million posting fee will have the right to negotiate a contract with the 25-year-old Tanaka, who went 24-0 last year in Japan with a 1.57 ERA.
In the past, posting fees were uncapped, leading to extravagant bids on pitchers like Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka. The old system also led to only one team being allowed to negotiate with the player. Uncapped posting severely limited the number of teams willing to submit bids, but that won’t be the case this year with the $20 million max.
Multiple teams are believed willing to put up the money, including the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. All will have the right to negotiate with Tanaka under the new guidelines, and only the team that signs him will have to put up the posting fee.
Tanaka expressed happiness over the news in his press conference, saying, “I’m grateful to the team for allowing me to try. Now I’ve made a first step. I hope I would receive offers from as many teams as possible so I have a wider option.”
Teams now have 30 days to put in a bid. If no one signs Tanaka he would return to Japan and could not be posted again until next November.