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Rakuten president: No decision on Tanaka

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As of now, it’s still uncertain whether Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be posted.

Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana arrived at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday and said he was disappointed with the new proposed posting system and that he isn’t sure whether Tanaka will post before the 2014 season. He said no decision has been made.

Tachibana spoke with reporters in English and then Japanese, and told the Japanese media that he won’t stop Tanaka from posting if that’s what Tanaka wants. Tachibana added that he plans on meeting with Tanaka next week.

Assuming the new posting system is ratified, the maximum bid would be $20 million. If more than one team bids that amount, Tanaka can negotiate with all of them and determine where he wants to play. Because the Japanese club only gets $20 million as opposed to last year, when Yu Darvish’s club received a $51.7 million posting fee, it’s possible Tanaka could stay for one more year. That way the Golden Eagles would get another season of Tanaka to market and then they’d still get the $20 million when he’s posted.

But it sounds as if Tanaka will discuss it with his club officials, including Tachibana, next week and reach a decision.

If you’re the Rangers and Tanaka is posted, why not make a bid? Only the team that ends up signing Tanaka has to pay the $20 million fee. So why not see what happens? Tanaka could add another arm on a long-term deal to the rotation and give the Rangers even more depth. If the bidding gets too high for the Rangers, they can back out. But I'd expect them to at least put in the bid and explore it, though the price may not be something they can end up doing.

Stay tuned.