Major League Baseball and Japanese baseball officials have been negotiating the details to a new posting system throughout the off-season, which will have a big impact on the future of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Some suggested changes reported a few weeks ago included the winning team paying an average of the top two bids on a posted player and fining teams that bid for a player but fail to sign him.
David Waldstein of the New York Times tweets that the two sides could reach a deal soon as they have narrowed it down to three possible outcomes for the new posting system. The details of the three are as yet unknown. If and when a deal is struck, expect the rumor mill for Tanaka to heat up quickly. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports suggested last week that the Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are all expected to show interest while the Giants and Rangers could get invovled as well.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that third baseman Jung Ho Kang has been granted a work visa and will soon rejoin the Pirates. Kang had previously not been allowed to enter the U.S. after he was arrested for his third DUI in Seoul in December 2016.
There was some thought that Kang wouldn’t ever play for the Pirates again, but things have worked out in his favor. It will still likely be a while until he actually appears in a major league game, as he will need to get back into game shape and up to game speed.
Pirates president Frank Coonelly said, “After a lengthy process, we are pleased that Jung Ho has been allowed to re-enter the United States. We are encouraged by the steps that Jung Ho has taken to date and are hopeful that having the games he loves taken away from him for more than a year has driven home the reality that he must make better life decisions as we move forward together.
As we have communicated to him throughout this process, we will work to provide Jung Ho with the resources and support necessary for him to meet the high expectations that we have for him as a member of our organization and our community.”
The Pirates signed Kang as an international free agent out of South Korea to a four-year, $11 million contract in January 2015. If he were to appear in the majors this season, he would earn a prorated $3 million. He has a club option for next season worth $5.5 million with a $250,000 buyout.