Japanese Posting Process Explained
After a few back and forth comments on the inner-workings of the MLB/NPB Japanese Posting rules, the head writer over at Valentine’s View on Sports dug up a research report by Duane W. Rockerbie of the University of Lethbridge.
Japanese Posting Rules Paper.pdf
In the work Rockerbie compares the posting system to that of European football. He also throws in some simple math to explain the auction process.
Rockerbie does a good job in clearly explaining the posting rules:
A Japanese player who wishes to leave his Japanese club and move to MLB must notify his club. The club can then agree to place the player on a posting list with any other players on any other Japanese clubs who also wish to move. Nothing prevents a MLB club from discussing the possibility of posting a player with the player’s agent before the posting period closes (November to March). The posting list is then provided to the Commissioner of MLB who notifies all MLB clubs of the posted players. Interested MLB clubs submit a sealed bid to the Commissioner’s Office within four days. The Commissioner opens the bids and notifies the Japanese club of the amount of the highest bid, but not who the bidding club is. The Japanese club has 30 days to accept or reject the bid and the bid is not subject to negotiation. If rejected, the Japanese club retains the player’s rights and the player cannot be posted again until the next off-season. If the bid is accepted, the Japanese player must agree to a playing contract with the winning bidder by the close of the posting period. Only at that time does the Japanese club receive the winning funds. If the player cannot agree to a playing contract, his rights revert back to his Japanese club and no payment is made.
I have wrongly been under the assumption that a minimum of seven years was needed to become posted eligible. Apparently there is no set time period. All that is needed is for the player & club to agree to the posting.
While this is in-fact the rule, seven+ years does seem to hold up. Why is this? Well after nine seasons a Japanese League player is granted free agency and can sign with anyone, anywhere. Few Japanese clubs would welcome this outcome, as posting fee compensation would become non-existant. A recent example of this case is the Indians signing NPB closer Masahide Kobayashi.
Knowing this Darvish could be posted as soon as next season. Could is the operative word… The Nippon Ham Fighters are still six full on-field seasons before Darvish is eligible for free agency. While they could most certainly cash in big money right now in the form of a posting fee, it is almost certain that the cash will be there in six years (provided the rules aren’t changed drastically, which I believe the to be true, as the NHB club owners must be ecstatic with the current set-up). Couple that with alienating their fan base and compromising their on-field success and one can bet that Davarish is staying put until he’s completed at least eight seasons (the end of the 2012 season).