Sunday, December 15, 2013
Hal Steinbrenner told the media Thursday that the $189MM target for the 2014 total payroll and extras was always a "goal, not a mandate." While the Yankees' employees may have gotten that impression, I don't know of too many (or any) fans who thought that was the case. Especially with the bargain basement moves Brian Cashman made last season.
With the possibility of the Rakuten Golden Eagles (Nippon Professional Baseball) posting star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka in the not so distant future, the Yankees will certainly do everything they can to land him. Which means they will blow the doors off the $189MM limit.
Former MLB pitcher C.J. Nitkowski reported Friday on MLB.com that Rakuten owner Hiroshi Mikitani was furious at the NPB's 11 other owners for accepting MLB's proposal of a $20MM maximum posting fee. (There are rumors that the league may supplement the fee to make it more acceptable for a player of Tanaka's magnitude, but it is just a rumor for now). Mikitani and club president Yozo Tachabani (prefers Tanaka to stay in Japan) doesn't have much time to finalize their decision either way since spring training in Japan begins February 1.
The old posting system was accomplished via secret bids with the winner given an opportunity to negotiate a Major League contract with the player in question. The new $20MM cap will allow more than one team to negotiate if multiple teams bid the same amount. That will certainly be the case with Tanaka, who was 24-0 this past season.
Teams that bid the the top amount will have 30 days to work out a Major League contract with the player. Besides the Yankees, the Red Sox and Cubs are also reportedly set to aggressively go after the 25-year old right-hander.
Part of MLB's internal negotiations were about whether the new lesser fee would count towards the luxury tax. (The old posting system fee did not.) The new fee will reportedly not count towards the luxury tax either, but I have not read or heard a definitive outcome of that part of the discussion.
Either way, the Yankees can forget the magic 189...whether it be a goal or a mandate. We know who's on first, but what's on second?