Major League Baseball announced today that the new posting system with Japan is now official. Nippon Professional Baseball and MLB’s executive council approved the final agreement today.
One of the biggest differences from the previous system is that, essentially, the process of “blind bids” for the posting fee in exchange for the exclusive negotiating rights with a player is gone. Instead, the Japanese team will set a “release fee”—$5 million, $10 million, whatever they choose, up to a maximum of $20 million. All 30 teams can negotiate with the player at that point, and the team that signs the player will then pay the release fee to the Japanese player.
Here, quoting verbatim from an MLB press release, are the basic rules of the new system:
• If an NPB Club wishes to make one of its players available to Major League Clubs, the NPB shall notify the Office of the Commissioner of the NPB player’s potential availability and the “release fee” that a Major League Club must pay to the NPB Club in order to secure the NPB player’s release. The NPB Club may not set the release fee at an amount higher than $20 million and the fee cannot be changed once it has been set by the NPB Club.
• The Office of the Commissioner shall then “post” the NPB player’s availability by notifying all Major League Clubs of the NPB player’s availability and the release fee sought by the NPB Club.
• All “postings” of NPB players must be made between November 1st and February 1st.
• Beginning the day after the player is posted, and concluding 30 days later, any Major League Club willing to pay the release fee set by the NPB Club may then negotiate with the player in an attempt to reach an agreement on a contract.
• If a Major League Club is able to reach an agreement on a contract with the posted NPB player, the Major League Club must pay the NPB Club the designated release fee, which will occur in installments, the timing of which depends on the size of the release fee.
• If the posted NPB player fails to reach an agreement with a Major League Club, the release fee is not owed, the NPB player remains under reserve to his NPB Club, and the player may not be posted again until the following November 1st.
• The term of the new posting agreement is three years, continuing from year-to-year thereafter until either the Office of the Commissioner or the NPB gives notice of its intent to terminate the agreement one hundred and eighty days prior to the anniversary of the commencement of the agreement.