Earlier today, we talked about the real possibility that there could soon be changes to the posting fee system. I had read this summer that the leagues, or at least one of them anyway, was trying to get the Japanese teams to take less money in the fee while the player gets more. Let's start there.
The only way to ensure that this happens is to have teams submit sealed bids in much the same manner they do today with one difference: teams submit bids based on what they'd pay the player and team, combined. Rather than two transactions, it's one. The NPB team gets something like 30% of the bid.
To use Yu Darvish as an example, the Rangers submitted a posting fee of $51.7 million and paid the player $56.7 million over 6 years. In this case, the Rangers would have submitted a bid of $108.4 million. Instead of the team getting $51.7 million, they would then get $32.52 million with the rest going to Darvish.
This seems pretty simple. Most of the players coming from Japan aren't getting bid on like the elite talents. The posting fees are relatively small and the contracts the players sign are also small in comparison to Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
One other thing, the total value of the bid counts toward MLB payroll for luxury tax purposes.
That would be easy to implement. It's one fairly insignificant change to the process. But would the NPB agree to this? I have no clue.
We'll call this Plan A (teams submit one bid, 30% of that bid goes to team, 70% goes to player, 100% of bid counts toward luxury tax).
Another possible change is that the sealed bids remain the same as they currently are, but the top 3 or so teams gain the rights to negotiate with the player. After the bidding, the teams would need to be put on equal footing in terms of total money spent. If the Yankees bid $55 million for Tanaka while the Cubs bid was $52 million and the Pirates bid was $37 million, the NPB team would get $37 million in posting fee from whichever team Tanaka chooses to sign with. The Japanase player is now free to negotiate freely with at least 3 teams.
One additional possibility is that they decide to put a maximum posting fee in place. Something like $30 million. The sealed bids are done away with and the player is free to negotiate with all 30 MLB teams. The NPB team would get a certain percentage of the contract the player signs. This seems unlikely to me.
What other changes can you think of? Click here to check current baseball lines or leave your posting fee changes guesses in the comments. What would you do?
We'll know more in a few days. I don't expect radical changes, but it does sound as though changes will be made.