Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On the new posting system and how it could affect potential prospects

So as many of you who are reading this post probably know, the NPB and MLB forged a new agreement on the posting system for Japanese players not eligible for International FA.

The main point that most of the NPB fans decry about is the fact that the posting fee has been capped at $20 million - supposedly under the guise of allowing small-market clubs the ability to go after the top NPB players.

Now, this would appear to be true.  With just a fee of $20 million, more ball clubs should be able to meet with the player and possibly get a contract done.

However, this is obviously a big hit to the NPB clubs themselves, who directly benefit from the posting fee.  It's also widely known that the Rakuten Eagles are not keen on posting Tanaka Masahiro if they can only get $20 million when just a couple of years ago, the Nippon Ham Fighters got $52 million for Darvish Yuu.

And therein lies the rub. NPB teams looking to post their superstars now will only get a pittance compared to the old system.  If that is the case, why would a NPB team be open to posting anyone - especially their better players knowing that they will only get $20 million?

They won't.  Which means that players might have to wait until getting their International FA to leave for the US.  But by that time they're past their supposed prime and might not get the big contract they would have if they left earlier.

Which then begs the question.  What's the chances now that a player from HS or college decides to forego the NPB draft and go directly to the MLB minors?

I've mentioned this before - we've had 2 HS players consider hard about going to the US.  Both wound up staying and becoming the #1 pick and max money - and will probably continue to do so as long as they perform much like Ma-kun.  But now, pending a change, they will probably have to wait 10 years before having a chance at the majors.  That being said, would they ever become comfortable enough to stake a claim in the low-cost minors?

Now look at college graduates who go to the draft, someone like Nomura Yuusuke who probably has a good career ahead of him, may not gain International FA until he passes age 30.

In other words, this new posting system could affect future drafts.

For college players, if they want to go to the US sooner, they may end up being more inclined to skip the NPB draft and sign with a US team.  For HS students, unless they decide that possibly waiting 10 years is worth it, they may also go to the US early.  Or, perhaps they go to college to polish their skills then head to the US.  If you are a top-level prospect, this may be the decision that they have to face - and it may be a decision that at perhaps one side foresaw coming.

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