With Tanaka being posted and with Yu Darvish last year, I find the new process a little disheartening as an Astros fan. We are so excited about the possibility of possibly drafting Carlos Rodon at 1-1, but if you look at the numbers Yu Darvish just put up, he is a legitimate #1 Ace type of pitcher. His strikeout rate blew away any other pitcher and it is not even close. My point is, the Astros had to go through a lot to get the chance to draft a guy like Rodon and if he turns out to be as good as Darvish, we would be very lucky. However, the Rangers did not have to draft him, they were able to just put up the money and get him.
This year, MLB changed the posting rules, but I really really don't see how it would benefit any of the smaller market or smaller spending teams. By some sources Tanaka is expected to get $17.5M per year. I think he will sign for at least 6 years and $105M (not counting the $20M posting fee). That means he will probably be a Yankee, Dodger, or Red Sox. Another negative impact with this is that international players really don't even know a lot about the lesser teams. Time and time again, I read about international players and they mention the Yankees and Red Sox, and it is possible they have not even heard of the Astros. Bottom line, I just don't see the Astros being able to compete for Tanaka.
Additionally, I don't believe they SHOULD try to get Tanaka at the cost of at least $105/6 plus a $20M posting fee. He is projected to have a #2 ceiling. I think he will be pretty good with his splitter, but probably not an ace. That said, if he had been cheaper I would absolutely have loved to slot him into our starting rotation in 2014 as it would really help the team in their overall blueprint. He is young enough to grow with the team.
Here is my proposal to MLB. There has been talk about an international draft for years. An international draft would be difficult to institute, but that is mainly when considering Latin America. There are few players who come over from Japan. So, why not make a deal with the Japanese to include Japanese players in the Rule 4 draft with a limit for $20M but in lieu of a positing fee, just put a cap on a buyout with a Japanese team of $20M. Then have the player be subject to Rule 4 draft slotting rules. For example, before the draft, a Japanese player will apply for the Rule 4 draft and can be drafted. Then the team works out a buyout not to exceed $20M. Then a team has to use a draft spot to pick up the player. This would then limit the amount paid to the player, the distribution of skilled players would be more fair, and this would greatly benefit Japanese teams. A player might be less likely to come to the US with less money, but the Japanese team would be able to keep more players and also I would think with lower salaries the buyout amounts would average more than the normal posting fees. The only side hurt would be the player, but why should they get more befit than an American player? Why can't Rodon go sign with the highest bidder? A team could also have the right to retain a players draft rights for a later time when the player might want to come over.
This type of system would be similar to the NBA. An NBA team can draft a player overseas and if the player is under contract the NBA team is limited by how much they can contribute to a buyout from say a Euro League team. The current system discourages me a bit because the Astros blueprint is to build through the draft, but teams like the Rangers are loading up (or spending like drunken sailors, however you want to put it) on players we can only hope will be as good at 1/1. Even guys like Leonys Martin are providing them (or projected to provide) with good value. Though not from Japan, Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus (traded fro Braves) were not signed through the Rule 4. Of course Jeff Luhnow was able to nab Oscar Taveras internationally, so I am not saying I don't trust the guy, I just don't like the MLB rules. Any thoughts? What do you think of this idea? I think this idea could also provide an idea of how to later bring Latin America into the fold as far as a draft. Anybody want to see more drafting on the international stage?