New posting agreement for players in Japan expected to be announced soon

Rakuten Eagles pitcher Masahiro Tanaka pitches against the Rakuten Eagles pitcher Masahiro Tanaka pitches against the Yomiuri Giants at Game 7 of baseball's Japan Series in Sendai. (Nov. 3, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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ORLANDO, Fla. - The bidding for Masahiro Tanaka could begin very shortly. Major League Baseball and its Japanese counterpart, Nippon Professional Baseball, are on the verge of announcing a revamped posting agreement that could come as soon as Tuesday, according to a source.

The two sides have discussed changes to the system for months, and without a new agreement in place, Tanaka -- the highly coveted ace for the Rakuten Eagles -- has been held in limbo. So have the many teams hoping to bid for his negotiating rights, including the Yankees.

Under the old system, teams submitted blind bids to the NPB, and the highest was passed to the player's team. If the top bid was accepted by that team, the MLB club was allowed to negotiate a contract.

A source confirmed Monday that the new proposal still would award the rights to the highest bidder, but that team might wind up paying only the average of the top two bids. The New York Post was the first to report those details Monday night.

With the new proposal still under discussion in Japan, MLB officials have been left waiting for approval of the plan. Once that happens, the bidding for Tanaka should commence very soon.

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