Updated: Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:57 | By Agence France-Presse

MLB, NPB agree on posting system protocol

US and Japanese baseball officials have agreed to a revised "posting" system to bring Japanese players to the major leagues, a move likely to impact star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka's possible move Stateside.

MLB, NPB agree on posting system protocol

Japan's pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws the ball against the Netherlands during the fifth inning of the second-round Pool 1 game in the World Baseball Classic tournament at Tokyo Dome on March 12, 2013

Major League Baseball announced on Monday that it had reached an agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball on the new rules.

Under the old posting system, used to bring such Japanese stars as Yu Darvish, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Ichiro Suzuki from Japan to US clubs, American teams made blind offers to for negotiation rights to a player.

The highest bidder would win the rights to an exclusive signing period. If the player signed a deal to leave Japan, his former club would receive the posting fee as a purchase price for the player. If there was no deal, the player would stay with his Japanese club and the posting fee would be negated.

Under the new system, if an NPB club wishes to make a player available to US clubs, Japanese officials will notify the MLB commissioner's office of his availability and a release fee that would be demanded. Such a fee cannot exceed $20 million.

The commissioner's office would notify MLB clubs of the player's availability and a day after the player is posted any Major League club willing to pay the release fee can negotiate with him.

Any American team that signs the player would pay his Japanese club the release fee, and if he isn't signed the release fee isn't owed and the NPB player remains under reserve to his Japanese club.

Tanaka went 24-0 in the regular season this year and sparked the Rakuten Golden Eagles to their first Japan Series title.

The righthander was expected to command a high fee to the club for negotiation rights and huge salary to cross the Pacific Ocean, but he had been in limbo as US and Japanese league officials discussed changing the system.

Now Rakuten officials could decide that since they can't receive more than $20 million for Tanaka, they want to keep him for another season.

They could have expected more under the old system. In 2012, the Texas Rangers posted a winning bid of $51.7 million just for the right to negotiate with Darvish, eventually signing him to a six-year deal worth $56 million.

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