Report: Other NPB teams willing to contribute to Tanaka posting fee
If the Rakuten Golden Eagles balk at posting Masahiro Tanaka, then other NPB teams may sweeten the pot.
According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, should the Rakuten Golden Eagles hesitate when it comes time to post coveted right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and thus make him available to MLB teams, then other Japanese clubs may contribute to the posting fee in order to make it more enticing to Rakuten.
As previously noted in this space, the MLB-NPB agreement caps posting fees at $20 million, which is a substantial discount relative to high-end posting fees of the recent past (Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka each commanded a posting fee in excess of $50 million, for instance). Rakuten brass has previously hinted that the reduced posting fee may persuade them not to post Tanaka, although, in recent days, they've suggested that the decision is ultimately Tanaka's.
With that said, Rakuten's NPB competitors would surely like nothing more than to see Tanaka pitching on the other side of the world. After all, this past season Tanaka, a true uber-ace in Japan, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and pitched the Golden Eagles to the championship. Yes, those numbers are correct.
"We will pay cash to make him go away," is sort of what Olney's report suggests about Rakuten's competing peers, which is understandable given the breadth of Tanaka's dominance. In any event, this is what might call "perverse incentives" when it comes to selling the rights of a player to a non-competing league.