Prized Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is not expected to be posted by his current team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, thus keeping him from playing Major League Baseball for at least another year, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing reports from Japanese newspapers.
The reigning Pacific League MVP is under control by Rakuten until the end of the 2015 season, although the club could decide to post the 25-year-old next winter.
The Yankees, Dodgers and Rangers were among the teams expected to bid for his services, but a new agreement between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball limited the maximum posting fee to $20 million.
Rakuten was hoping Tanaka would land a larger fee than the record $51.7 million the Rangers paid for pitcher Yu Darvish.
Tanaka, who expressed interest in playing in the U.S., went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season in leading the Golden Eagles to the Japan Series title.
As compensation for not signing a larger contract with an MLB team, Rakuten said it will offer to double or triple Tanaka's $4 million salary, according to the Times. SI WIRE: Report: Cubs SS Starlin Castro has $3.6 million seized in legal dispute