Daily Archives: January 9, 2014

MLB: Highest Postings for Baseball Players from Japan (Nippon Professional Baseball League, NPB)

Masahiro Tanaka Went An Unheard Of 24-0 In 2013, But His Posting Will Be Capped At $20 Million

Masahiro Tanaka Went An Unheard Of 24-0 In 2013, But His Posting Will Be Capped At $20 Million

It’s been a couple years, but it looks like it’s that time again – time for MLB teams to bid for another (potential) NPB phenom out of Japan. Now it’s Masahiro Tanaka, right-handed starting pitcher for the 2013 champion Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. (By the way, Kevin Youkilis will be playing for the Golden Eagles in 2014).

The 25-year old Tanaka has played seven seasons for the Golden Eagles, posting an outstanding win-loss record of 99 and 35 (.739) with a 2.30 ERA. In 2013, Tanaka was a preposterous 24-0. No wonder he “is expected to meet with as many as a dozen MLB teams,” according to Jon Heyman at cbssports.com, and that the bidding is going to be a frenzy.

But – and here’s the twist – in mid-December, “Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball…finalized a new posting system that caps the fee for players at $20 million, a deal that may lead to star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka going on the market.” (per AP via ESPN).

Here’s a full explanation of the rules, format and bidding process, thanks to Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this develops. Where will Tanaka “wind up?”

This all leaves Yu Darvish the most expensive posted player in MLB and NPB for at least the foreseeable future. The Texas Rangers shelled out $51.7M to secure exclusive negotiation rights with Darvish in 2011.

A few years before that (2006), the Boston Red Sox doled out $51.1M for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

We didn’t before and won’t again see numbers like that for a while.

The results of NPB-posted acquisitions this side of the Pacific have been mixed, but mostly down. Of course there is Ichiro Suzuki, a Hall of Fame lock. The Darvish move has been a success so far. Daisuke Matsuzaka has had his moments.

But most have produced like Kei Igawa. The New York Yankees dumped $26M for him and received little in return.

Below are all 13 MLB-NPB posted players sorted by price. Click on their names to see their MLB or Minor League stats (if they have any) courtesy baseball-reference.com.

The very first posted player was, in fact, not Japanese. It was Alejandro Quezada. In 1999, the Cincinnati Reds bid a Price-Is-Right-like $400,001 for Quezada, a Dominican who played for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He never cut it in the States, hanging it up after five (not so bad) seasons in the minors.

1. $51.7M Yu Darvish RHP 2011 Texas Rangers Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
2. $51.1M Daisuke Matsuzaka  RHP 2006 Boston Red Sox Seibu Lions
3. $26.0M Kei Igawa LHP 2006 New York Yankees Hanshin Tigers
4. $13.1M Ichiro Suzuki  RF 2000 Seattle Mariners Orix BlueWave
5. $11.3M Kazuhisa Ishii LHP 2002 Los Angeles Dodgers Tokyo Yakult Swallows
6. $5.3M Tsuyoshi Nishioka  SS 2010 Minnesota Twins Chiba Lotte Marines
7. $4.5M Akinori Iwamura  2B/3B 2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays Tokyo Yakult Swallows
8. $2.5M Norichika Aoki  RF 2011 Milwaukee Brewers Tokyo Yakult Swallows
9. $750K Shinji Mori RRP 2005 Tampa Bay Devil Rays Seibu Lions
10. $400,001 Alejandro Quezada  OF 1999 Cincinnati Reds Hiroshima Toyo Carp
11. $350K Ramón Ramírez RRP 2003 New York Yankees Hiroshima Toyo Carp
11. $300K Akinori Otsuka RRP 2005 San Diego Padres Chunichi Dragons
? Unknown Norihiro Nakamura  3B 2005 Los Angeles Dodgers Orix Buffaloes

Photo: KYODO via japantimes.co.jp

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