The Posting System is a player transfer system between Nippon Pro Baseball and Major League Baseball. It was created to allow teams to receive compensation for players who would like to play in the Major Leagues before becoming a free agent and to avoid situations like those of Hideo Nomo or Alfonso Soriano, who had used loopholes in a prior NPB-MLB agreement to switch countries. In 2012, the posting system was first used in an agreement between MLB and the Korea Baseball Organization. However, after the 2013 season, the system was canceled as major league owners sought modifications to make it less costly for teams when highly-sought players went on the market. This development came about as star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was about to be posted with a number of teams keenly interested in bidding for his services, putting him in limbo. Negotiations continued and on December 10th, a basic plan was announced to reinstate the system with a $20 million cap. If more than one team bids that amount, the player is allowed to negotiate with both teams. That cap has since been lifted, with the transfer fee now being calculated as a fixed percentage of any contract agreement.
The system was updated in 2017, just in time to allow for the posting of superstar two-way player Shohei Ohtani. At issue in the negotiations between MLB and NPB was agreeing on scaled fees to be paid back to Japanese teams when a player is posted. The window to make postings was also shortened until early December (it had originally been until March 1st of the following year).
A player can be posted from November 1st to December 5th. For a player to be posted, both the team and player must agree on the posting; usually the player requests to be posted. The team then notifies the NPB Commissioner's Office that the player will be posted, who then notifies MLB, which in turns notifies all of its teams. The MLB teams used to have four days to submit a "silent" bid for the right to negotiate a contract with the player to the MLB Commissioner's Office. After the fourth day, the NPB team (via the Commissioner's Office) was notified of the highest bidder and has four days to accept or reject the bid. If the bid was accepted, the winning MLB team has thirty (30) days to reach an agreement with the player. If the bid was rejected, the player stayed put. Following changes in 2017, all teams are now free to negotiate with the posted player, with the transfer fee being a fixed percentage of any agreed contract. Yusei Kikuchi was the first player to reach a deal under these modified terms.
If the player signs a contract with the MLB team by the end of the signing period, then the player becomes part of that MLB team and the NPB team receives the bid money. If the player does not sign a contract with the MLB team by the end of the signing period, the player is returned to the NPB team and the NPB team does not receive the bid money. Negotiation rights come with an implicit obligation to bargain with the player in good faith; however, the penalty for bad faith bargaining was unclear until modifications made in 2013 make it much more difficult for a major league team to "game" the system in order to prevent a rival from landing a top-rank Japanese player.
|Posting Date||Player||NPB Team||MLB Team||Transfer Fee||Contract Agreement Date||Notes|
|February 2, 1999||Alejandro Quezada||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Cincinnati Reds||$400,001||March 2, 1999||signed a minor league contract|
|February 2, 1999||Timo Perez||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||none||re-signed with the Carp on February 3 for 34.5 million yen|
|November 9, 2000||Ichiro Suzuki||Orix BlueWave||Seattle Mariners||$13,125,000||November 30, 2000||signed a 3-year, $14 million ($14,000,000) contract|
|January 3, 2002||Kazuhisa Ishii||Yakult Swallows||Los Angeles Dodgers||$11,260,000||February 2, 2002||signed a 4-year, $12.3 million ($12,300,000) contract|
|December 18, 2002||Akinori Otsuka||Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes||none||signed with the Dragons on March 20 for 95 million yen|
|February 6, 2003||Ramon Ramirez||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||New York Yankees||$300,050||March 9, 2003||signed a minor league contract|
|November 11, 2003||Akinori Otsuka||Chunichi Dragons||San Diego Padres||$300,000||December 10, 2003||signed a two-year, $1.8 million ($1,800,000) contract|
|January 28, 2005||Norihiro Nakamura||Orix Buffaloes||Los Angeles Dodgers||unknown||February 3, 2005||signed a minor league contract|
|November 22, 2005||Yusaku Iriki||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||none||released by Fighters on December 5, 2005; |
signed by the New York Mets on January 18, 2006
to a one-year, $750,000 contract
|December 12, 2005||Shinji Mori||Seibu Lions||Tampa Bay Devil Rays||$1,000,000||unknown||signed a two year, $1.3 million ($1,300,000) contract|
|November 2, 2006||Daisuke Matsuzaka||Seibu Lions||Boston Red Sox||$51,111,111.11||December 13, 2006||signed a six-year, $52 million ($52,000,000) contract|
|November 6, 2006||Akinori Iwamura||Yakult Swallows||Tampa Bay Devil Rays||$4,500,000||December 15, 2006||signed a three-year, $7.7 million ($7,700,000) contract|
|November 17, 2006||Kei Igawa||Hanshin Tigers||New York Yankees||$26,000,194||December 28, 2006||signed a five-year, $20 million ($20,000,000) contract|
|December 20, 2008||Koji Mitsui||Seibu Lions||none|
|January 5, 2009||Koji Mitsui||Seibu Lions||none|
|November 2, 2010||Hisashi Iwakuma||Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles||Oakland Athletics||$19,100,000||turned down a four-year, $15,250,000 contract to remain with Rakuten|
|November 15, 2010||Tsuyoshi Nishioka||Chiba Lotte Marines||Minnesota Twins||$5,329,000||December 17, 2010||signed a three-year, $9.25 million ($9,250,000) contract|
|November 23, 2011||Hiroyuki Nakajima||Seibu Lions||New York Yankees||$2,000,000||unable to reach agreement on a contract and returned to Seibu|
|December 8, 2011||Yu Darvish||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters||Texas Rangers||$51,700,000||January 18, 2012||signed a six-year, $60 million ($60,000,000) contract|
|December 12, 2011||Norichika Aoki||Yakult Swallows||Milwaukee Brewers||$2,500,000||January 17, 2012||signed a two-year contract|
|November 4, 2012||Hyun-Jin Ryu||Hanwha Eagles||Los Angeles Dodgers||$25,737,737.33||December 9, 2012||signed a six-year, $36 million ($36,000,000) contract|
|December 26, 2013||Masahiro Tanaka||Rakuten Golden Eagles||New York Yankees||$20,000,000||January 22, 2014||signed a seven-year, $155 million contract|
|November 4, 2014||Kwang-Hyun Kim||SK Wyverns||San Diego Padres||$2,000,000||unable to reach agreement on a contract and returned to SK Wyverns|
|November 17, 2014||Hyeon-jong Yang||Kia Tigers||none||Kia Tigers rejected all bids received as insufficient on November 26, 2014|
|December 15, 2014||Jung-ho Kang||Nexen Heroes||Pittsburgh Pirates||$5,002,015||January 16, 2015||signed a four-year contract for $11 million ($11,000,000)|
|November 2, 2015||Byung-ho Park||Nexen Heroes||Minnesota Twins||$12,850,000||December 1, 2015||signed a four-year contract for $16 million ($16,000,000)|
|November 16, 2015||Ah-seop Son||Lotte Giants||none|
|December 8, 2015||Kenta Maeda||Hiroshima Carp||Los Angeles Dodgers||$20,000,000||January 7, 2016||signed an eight-year contract worth a minimum of $25 million and a maximum of $106.2 million|
|December 1, 2017||Shohei Ohtani||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||Los Angeles Angels||$20,000,000||December 8, 2017||agreed to a bonus of $2.32 million and the major league minimum salary ($545,000)|
|December 3, 2018||Yusei Kikuchi||Seibu Lions||Seattle Mariners||$10,275,000||December 31, 2018||agreed to a four-year contract worth $56 million with options for up to three additional seasons|
- Jon Paul Morosi: "Pitcher? Hitter? Both! And soon, Ohtani in play: Parties agree to new rules regarding NPB player transfers", mlb.com, November 21, 2017.