Masahiro TanakaThe starting pitching market during MLB free agency has been stagnant so far this off-season. Pitchers like Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez have seen their market yet to develop for one reason: the posting of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka is regarded as the top pitcher on the market and if his team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, decide to post him, he’ll be highly sought after. Here are the major details of the posting system according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:

Any team that posts the $20 million “release fee” will be able to negotiate with Tanaka, if he’s posted, for 30 days about a contract. The maximum bid was put in place to help smaller market teams gain the right to talk to posted players, something higher market teams have exclusively had the luxury of doing under the old agreement.

All postings must be made between November 1 and February 1 and if the player and MLB club fail to reach agreement, the “release fee” is returned while the player can’t be posted until the following year.

Rakuten president Yozo Tachibana plans to meet with Tanaka sometime this week to determine if he wants to leave for the states, something they’ll honor if he says he wants to play in the big leagues.

However, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, it’s looking like Tanaka will be posted:

If he’s posted, the Dodgers interest isn’t exactly known as they were reported favorites when the off-season started, but a recent report suggests their interest is only “lukewarm”.

Still, people around baseball expect the Dodgers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and possibly the Arizona Diamondbacks to express significant interest in the 25-year-old phenom if and when he’s posted.

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About The Author

Ross Gasmer is a Social Media Producer for @TheHerd and was a contributing writer and editor for Dodger Nation. Follow him on Twitter @Ross_Gasmer12

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