MLB, Japanese baseball reach deal on fees
Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball have finalized a new posting system that caps the fee for players at $20 million, a deal that may lead to star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka going on the market.
Under the rules of the three-year agreement announced Monday, a Japanese club may make players available between Nov. 1 and Feb. 1 and may set a price of up to $20 million.
Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander, went a 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA during the regular season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League. Eagles President Yozo Tachibana said at the winter meetings last week that no decision had been made whether to post the player.
Under the previous agreement, which began in December 1998 and ran through last offseason, there was no cap on bidding. Boston obtained pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka from the Seibu Lions before the 2007 season for $51 million and agreed to a $52 million, six-year contract. Texas got pitcher Yu Darvish from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters before the 2012 season for $51 million and gave him a $56 million, six-year deal.
Around the horn
Diamondbacks • Arizona acquired closer Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for third-base prospect Matt Davidson. Reed, 24, ranked fifth in the American League and seventh overall in the majors with 40 saves last season.
Cardinals • St. Louis signed free-agent second baseman Mark Ellis, who hit .270 with six home runs and 48 RBIs for the Dodgers last season.
Indians • Closer John Axford reached agreement on a contract with Cleveland, pending a physical. Axford could replace Chris Perez, who was released on Oct. 31 following a turbulent season with the club. The 30-year-old Axford finished last season in St. Louis. Axford lost his closer's job with Milwaukee after blowing six saves and was traded to the Cardinals in August.
Cubs • Left-hander Wesley Wright agreed to a one-year contract with Chicago worth $1,425,000. Wright, a 28-year-old reliever, was 0-4 with a 3.69 ERA in 70 games last season for Houston and Tampa Bay, which bought his contract in August. Wright had been the longest-tenured player on the Astros.
Wright, 10-15 with a 4.37 ERA in six big league seasons, became a free agent when Tampa Bay failed to offer a contract by the Dec. 2 deadline. In addition to his salary with the Cubs, he would earn a $25,000 bonus under Monday's deal for pitching 50 games or more.