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Thursday, December 19, 2013
Will Masahiro Tanaka be posted?

By Richard Durrett

The baseball world, including the Texas Rangers, is waiting to see if Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be posted. If he is, it would put another big name on the free agent market, one that is not tied to draft-pick compensation, but instead would include a $20 million posting fee to the team that ends up signing him.

But will the Rangers or any other MLB team actually get a chance to negotiate with him?

The New York Times, citing "several Japanese newspapers" late Wednesday night, reports that Tanaka is not expected to be posted. Tanaka's team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, has made no public statement yet, but the newspapers are reporting that Tanaka will stay in Japan for another year.

Earlier this week, Tanaka made it clear he wanted to get to the big leagues now.

“I informed my team that I would like them to allow me to test my abilities in Major League Baseball next season,” Tanaka said to reporters.

But Tanaka's team, according to the New York Times report, could offer the star pitcher a salary of double or triple the $4 million he made last year, making him the highest-paid Japanese pitcher ever. It would help the team better compete in 2014 and it won't hurt ticket sales. The team could then allow Tanaka to post next year, getting the $20 million then before he becomes a free agent after the 2015 season.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was asked about the new posting system on Wednesday and said he feels it "seems equitable" to the big league clubs and says it's a "more transparent way to go about it."

"It more closely mirrors traditional free agency while still respecting the Japanese club's effort and investment in developing the player and giving them a return," Daniels said. "It gives the player more choice with more of the money going to the player. I'm sure on some level from a Japanese team standpoint, capping it means it's a trade-off for them. But on the whole, it addresses a few different things."

Daniels admits that he was glad this new system wasn't in place when his club attempted to sign Yu Darvish. Under the old system, the Rangers, by virtue of their $51.7 million posting fee, got an exclusive 30-day window to sign Darvish. They weren't having to compete with all the other teams at that point.

"As long we didn't screw-up the negotiations, we were going to get the player," Daniels said. "That's what we were concerned about. It worked out pretty well for us."