Masahiro Tanaka could remain in Japan, president of his team says

Masahiro Tanaka helped the Rakuten Golden Eagles win the Nippon Baseball League championship last season.
(Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images)

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka might not be made available to major league teams this winter, the president of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles told a Japanese sports newspaper.

Because of new rules that will be implemented, the most the Golden Eagles could receive in exchange for Tanaka’s rights is $20 million. Before Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball started to discuss setting limits on how much MLB teams could bid for Japanese players, there was speculation the Golden Eagles could receive more than the $51.7 million the Nippon Ham Fighters received for the rights to Yu Darvish two years ago.

“We have an obligation to explain to our stakeholders whether it’s fair,” Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana said to Sponichi.

And if it’s decided it’s not fair?


“There’s a possibility we won’t take the next step,” Tachibana said.

In other words, Tanaka wouldn’t be posted.

However, the Golden Eagles will likely come under immense public pressure to let Tanaka come to the United States.

To celebrate their NPB title, the Golden Eagles will go on vacation to Hawaii next week. Tachibana said team management will speak to Tanaka before then.


Tachibana is scheduled to attend MLB’s winter meetings in Florida next week.