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Report: MLB asks Rakuten to promise no 'side deal' with Tanaka

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

The intrigue among Masahiro Tanaka, Rakuten and MLB isn't over yet.  (Getty)
The intrigue among Masahiro Tanaka, Rakuten and MLB isn't over yet. (Getty)

MORE: FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

As recently noted, MLB is reportedly angling to prevent the recently posted Masahiro Tanaka from donating money to his former team in Japan, the Rakuten Golden Eagles. By the terms of the newly negotiated posting agreement, former teams are entitled to no considerations above and beyond the maximum $20-million posting fee. Now, Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times -- the duo who made the original report -- are reporting that MLB has asked Rakuten to state in writing that it has no "side deal" with Tanaka.

Hernandez and Shaikin write:

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney confirmed Sunday that the league had sent the letter and requested those assurances. It was not immediately clear how Rakuten might respond.

Rakuten might have gotten three times more money from making Tanaka available under the old posting system, in which MLB teams bid to acquire exclusive negotiating rights from Japanese clubs. In 2011, the Texas Rangers paid $51.7 million for the rights to pitcher Yu Darvish.

Given the widespread dissatisfaction within NBP over the new agreement, all of this isn't going to do much to encourage good feelings between the two leagues. Of course, MLB probably isn't much worried about that.

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