One of the bigger developments to come out of this week's MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando, which are now officially without many big splashes, was the changing of the MLB posting process to acquire Japanese players currently under contract in Japan.
Formerly, as the Texas Rangers learned when they acquired Yu Darvish from the Ham Fighters of the Nippon Baseball League, one team would win the exclusive negotiation rights with a player at whatever price they wanted to pay, in the Rangers' case, in excess of $50 million to Darvish's club just for the opportunity to speak with him.
Now, things are different, and again, there's a highly coveted Japanese pitcher with interest from several teams in Masahiro Tanaka.
The Rangers are one of those teams said to be interested in Tanaka, but they won't have exclusive negotiation rights.
The new rule says the maximum bid for negotiation rights is now $20 million, and if there are multiple teams making the $20 million bid, they will all have the ability to negotiate with the player in a negotiation window. Whoever signs the player, or whoever the player chooses, would then pay the Japanese club the posting fee.
The Rangers are reportedly in on Tanaka and will post the maximum $20 million, guaranteeing themselves at least a shot at him, as several other teams are expected to do the same. But now, we're all waiting to see if Tanaka's club makes him available as they're said to be a little upset with the change and the missed opportunity at a big-time money grab like the Ham Fighters got a couple of years ago.