Despite reports stating otherwise, Rakuten Eagles management has been consistent in saying the team has not made a decision yet on whether to post their ace, Masahiro Tanaka.
Eagles president Yozo Tachibana reiterated those statements today in the Japanese press, including Nikkan Sports, saying that the team is still having internal discussions about what to do with Tanaka and has not made a final decision. The new posting system allows players to be posted until Feb. 1 though Tachibana didn’t give a timetable for a decision.
The belief among several sources in the international community, especially if a decision drags out much further, is that Rakuten is trying to figure out a way to get compensation beyond the $20 million maximum release fee for posting Tanaka. The Eagles were the lone Japanese team to oppose the new posting system, which significantly cuts into the posting fee they were expecting to receive for Tanaka.
Righthanders Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka both commanded fees slightly north of $50 million for their respective Japanese clubs, and the expectation around baseball was that Tanaka’s fee would have surpassed that until the new rules were enacted.