The new posting system is in place, and Japan’s biggest star has made his intentions public: He wants his chance at the majors.
According to multiple Japanese media reports, Masahiro Tanaka said today that he hopes the Rakuten Eagles make him available through the posting system this offseason so he can pitch in Major League Baseball in 2014. Tanaka reportedly met with Eagles president Yozo Tachibana today and informed him of his wish to be posted.
Whether the Eagles will grant Tanaka’s request remains to be seen. Tanaka’s desire to pitch in MLB is no surprise, as he made that known last year. However, this is the first time Tanaka has made comments that he wants to pitch in MLB next season since the previous posting system expired.
The new system will limit the posting fee (or what’s now called a “release fee”) for Tanaka to $20 million, well short of the $60 million or so that the Eagles had been expecting for Tanaka. Eagles management in recent months has talked publicly about how it believes the new system is unfair and questioned whether $20 million was proper compensation for a pitcher of Tanaka’s caliber.
The Eagles control Tanaka’s rights for two more seasons, so ultimately they call the shots on whether Tanaka will be posted. But Tanaka’s public comments are at least another sign that indicate he may be posted this year. With the posting system now in place and Tanaka having met formally with his team, a decision could come soon.