Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Market for major league baseball players: international trade

The NY Times reports: Japanese Irked at U.S. Interest in Pitching Phenom

"Many Japanese baseball officials are outraged that United States teams are courting Tazawa, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, because they insist it is long-established practice for amateurs like him to be strictly off limits to major league clubs..."
"“This was more than just a gentleman’s agreement, but rather an implicit understanding that the major leagues would do no such thing,” Nippon Professional Baseball said in a news release on signing Japanese baseball amateurs. “That a handful of clubs from the majors is trying to break this gentlemen’s agreement is truly regrettable.”
..."The protocol agreement between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball does not address the signing of either nation’s amateur players. It does formalize how Japanese veterans may switch continents: on the open market after nine seasons in the Japan major leagues, or earlier if a player’s club chooses to auction off his rights through a procedure commonly known as posting. Established in 1998, posting established stars like Daisuke Matsuzaka has generated as much as $51 million for their Japanese clubs, and losing top amateurs could hurt that pipeline."
..."The Yomiuri official Hidetoshi Kiyotake has said he fears for the viability of the entire Japanese majors should the major leagues descend on his nation’s amateur talent. In a recent issue of the Japanese magazine Weekly Baseball, he wrote that South Korea’s major league has been seriously harmed by 38 amateur players signing directly with major league clubs since 1994.
..."Fearful that Tazawa’s signing such a contract would encourage more Japanese amateurs to follow him, Nippon Professional Baseball recently passed a rule that requires any amateur who jumps to a major league team to sit out two or three years before being able to return to play in Japan."

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