Posting System

From BR Bullpen

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.

Posted Players[edit]

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
November 19, 2019 Yoshitomo Tsutsugo Yokohama DeNA BayStars Tampa Bay Rays $2,400,000 December 13, 2019 agreed to a four-year contract worth $12 million
December 3, 2019 Ryosuke Kikuchi Hiroshima Toyo Carp
December 3, 2019 Shun Yamaguchi Yomiuri Giants Toronto Blue Jays $1,200,000 December 17, 2019 agreed to a two-year contrat for $6 million
December 5, 2019 Kwang-Hyun Kim SK Wyverns St. Louis Cardinals $1,600,000 December 17, 2019 agreed to a two-year contract for $8 million
December 5, 2019 Jae-Hwan Kim Doosan Bears

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jon Paul Morosi: "Pitcher? Hitter? Both! And soon, Ohtani in play: Parties agree to new rules regarding NPB player transfers",, November 21, 2017. [1]