The Major League Baseball Players Association has agreed to move its deadline for a new posting agreement with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the MLBPA announced Monday evening.
MLB, the union and NPB have been working on a new posting agreement for weeks now. MLB and NPB agreed to a deal but it wasn’t approved by the union, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports.
Without a new system in place, the highly prized two-way star Shohei Ohtani cannot sign with a North American team. The union believes Ohtani’s limbo status has frozen the rest of the free agent market and imposed the Monday evening deadline with the goal of resolving the issue quickly. The MLBPA now says it will give the other sides until 8 p.m. ET Tuesday to hammer out a deal.
Ohtani’s case is also to blame for the delay in ratifying a new posting system. The previous system required MLB teams to pay a negotiation fee to NPB teams, a maximum of $20 million. Both sides are said to want the new system to pay Japanese teams a fee based on the value of the departing player’s contract, believed to be between 15% and 20%. The value of a contract Ohtani, the most-hyped prospect to come out of Japan in years, would sign this year is severely restricted, though. Under the new MLB collective bargaining agreement, a 23-year foreign pro like Ohtani is treated the same as a 16-year-old amateur from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. He will sign a minor-league contract with an added signing bonus maxing out at $3.535 million. A percentage of that figure would be a paltry sum for Ohtani’s current team, the Nippon-Ham Fighters.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported earlier this month that MLB had reached a tentative agreement to include Ohtani under the previous system. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported later, though, that the union was opposed to that agreement because it would pay the Fighters significantly more than Ohtani himself would receive.