Masahiro Tanaka wants the MLB, decision now on Rakuten; MLB/NPB reach agreement

MasahiroTanakaJapan

The NPB and MLB have reached an agreement on the posting system, which will be in place for three years. For all the new details, and there are a bunch, see MLB Trade Rumors for a recap.

The relevant part for the Dodgers and their pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka is that now any team that posts the refundable $20 million release fee has the rights to negotiate with the player. In other words, for a guy of Tanaka’s caliber, there’s zero reason that all 30 teams couldn’t be in.

But until recently, Rakuten was still trying to convince Tanaka to stay. However, he made his desires clear recently.

“I informed the organization that I would like them to give me permission to take on the challenge of playing in the Majors next season. I am also grateful to President Tachibana for taking time out of his schedule to meet me. I first said that I appreciated their support in helping me grow over the seven years since I joined Rakuten. I then said I would like them to give me the opportunity to move onto the next challenge. We have spoken a number of time, but the [agreement became] official today so he said he needed to take it back with him,” Tanaka said.

Following that, Sanspo reported that owner Hiroshi Mikitani will post Tanaka.

So it’s not set in stone that he’s coming over, but it seems to be leaning in that direction at the moment.

For the Dodgers, they’ve been downplaying their interest in Tanaka for a while now, but I have to think that they’ll be right in the hunt. As I’ve said before, he’s an extremely appealing option over trading for David Price, not because he’s a sure thing, but because he doesn’t cost players.

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