Tag Archives: CBA

NPB’s silver-lining playbook

Japanese pro baseball may or may not realize it, but NPB is currently at a crossroads in its dealing with MLB and should act now to fix a system that isn’t working as well as it should for Japanese teams.

Never has the MLB market for imported Japanese talent been so high as it was this offseason, with teams handing out big contracts to two players who moved via the posting system, a record $325 million deal for Yoshinobu Yamamoto and a contract to Shota Imanaga that could be worth $80 million.

The current posting agreement with MLB includes posting fees calculated on the total value of a player’s contract, but the use of options and opt outs have allowed MLB teams to defer paying what they owe since Yusei Kikuchi signed with the Seattle Mariners ahead of the 2019 season with player and team options after the third year.

Obviously that’s a problem. NPB teams have gone from huge windfalls, to $20 million windfalls, to a fraction of the amount the player is paid with opt outs making deferred payments interest-free loans from the players’ Japanese clubs.

“I tell them, every time you sit down in New York with these people (MLB), the big leagues benefit as a league, their clubs benefit, the Japanese players benefit, and you guys (NPB) just bend over and take it. It makes me so upset.”

— NPB team executive in December 2017.

With some MLB teams believing Lotte Marines right-hander Roki Sasaki will be available via the posting system 11 months from now, the interest shows no sign of slowing. Under the current posting rules and MLB’s collective bargaining agreement with its union, the Sasaki will be treated as an international amateur only eligible to enter MLB via a minor league contract with a signing bonus constrained by MLB’s signing bonus pools.

Continue reading NPB’s silver-lining playbook

Ohtani gets paid

Shohei Ohtani is still only arbitration-eligible, meaning he’s still being significantly underpaid compared to his production — even with his terrible 2020 season and his 2018 pitching injury thrown in, but the two-year contract announced Monday, $3 million this year and $5.5 million for 2022, likely represent new highs for him.

Read the Kyodo News (English) story.

The 2016 MVP of Japan’s Pacific League, earned a reported 270 million yen ($2.4 million) as a 22-year-old in 2017 with the Nippon Ham Fighters. As a 23-year-old, MLB and its union worked to declare him an amateur in its latest CBA, meaning a limited signing bonus and a guaranteed minor league contract.

The Nikkan Sports did a nifty little table of his earnings through 2020, with the understanding that Japanese figures are just what the player and team want you to hear and don’t always reflect reality. This means it is possible that Ohtani earned far more in 2017 than the figure that was officially leaked and that his 2020 salary is not yet the highest of his career.

201315 mil.$147,687
201430 mil.$272,477
2015100 mil.$794,211PL Best 9 (P)
2016200 mil.$1.74 mil.PL Best 9 (P, DH), PL MVP
2017270 mil.$2.31 mil.
2018 60 mil.$545,000AL ROY
2019 71 mil.$650,000
202075 mil.$700,000
2021315 mil.$3 mil.
2022577 mil.$5.5 mil.
Dollar figures prior to 2018, and yen figures after are based on IRS annual exchange rates for that year. Rates for 2021 are for Feb. 8, 2021.