TOKYO (AP) — Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka wants to move to Major League Baseball next season but his Japanese team doesn't want to let him go.
MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball have finalized a new posting system that caps the fee for players at $20 million, much less than what Japanese teams previously got for players like pitchers Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
"I informed my team that I would like them to allow me to test my abilities in Major League Baseball next season," Tanaka said at a news conference on Tuesday after a meeting with Rakuten Eagles president Yozo Tachibana.
Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Eagles during the regular season, is not eligible for free agency and can move to MLB only if the Eagles agree to post him.
The Eagles rejected terms of the new posting system in a vote by Japan's 12 teams on Monday, and say they want to re-sign Tanaka for next season.
For 30 days from the time a player is posted, any MLB team can attempt to sign the player. It pays the posting fee only if it signs the player.
Under the previous agreement, which began in 1998 and ran through last offseason, there was no cap on bidding and only the MLB team with the highest bid could negotiate with the player.
The Boston Red Sox obtained Matsuzaka from the Seibu Lions before the 2007 season for more than $51 million, and agreed to a $52 million, six-year contract. The Texas Rangers got Darvish from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters before the 2012 season for $51.7 million and gave him a $56 million, six-year deal. Darvish finished second in this year's Cy Young Award voting.
The new posting system came about after some MLB teams objected that only the richest clubs could afford to bid on top players.
Tachibana said Rakuten was trying to persuade its star pitcher to stay with the team for 2014.
"We told him he is very important to us and we'd like him to stay," Tachibana said.