With just three days to go before Opening Day, labor and management settled on multiplying each day on the active roster this year by 1.3 so that the shortened season will not hurt players needing to accumulate service time toward free agency.
The result came in the third negotiating session between the Japan Pro Baseball Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball. The season, shortened from 143 games to 120, will take place over a span of 151 days instead of 190.
The active rosters will also be expanded from 29 to 31, to allow players more rest in order to stave off COVID-19, which will also allow one or two more players each day to accumulate days toward the 145 needed to count as one year toward free agency.
Full international free agency requires nine years, while players who turned pro after leaving a Japanese high school can file for domestic free agency after seven, while those who go from junior high or high school to the pros need eight years to move to another NPB club under their own power.
One additional imported player can be carried on the active rosters this year, although the prohibition against having four pitchers or four position players will remain.
Monday is usually an off day, but the Rakuten Eagles and Lotte Marines played a makeup game.
Marines 8, Eagles 1
At Rakuten Seimei Park, former Lotte closer Yuji Nishino (1-1) won his second straight start, going five scoreless innings and facing 19 batters at the same park where he last started and won on Sept. 30, 2017.
Seiya Inoue opened the scoring with a third-inning leadoff homer against Rakuten’s Shoma Fujihira (0-1), who couldn’t find his control and loaded the bases with no outs in a two-run Lotte fourth.
NPB to consider version of Rule 5 Draft
Nippon Professional Baseball’s executive committee and
board of directors met on Monday in Tokyo and presented a concrete plan to the
teams for the introduction of an active player draft similar in respects to
Major League Baseball’s Rule 5 Draft of players not on 40-man rosters.
Atsushi Ihara, NPB’s secretary general, said it is now up
to the parties to study the proposal that would allow players on NPB’s 70-man
rosters with scant opportunities for playing time to move to other clubs.
Monday’s proposal is for a draft to be held every two
Such a draft is something the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association has been pushing for years, in addition to shortened requirements for free agency (currently nine years to qualify for unlimited international filing rights) and player rental, and minor league free agency.