Happy New Year to you all! To start off:
Japanese sensation Kenta Maeda signed one of the strangest deals I've ever seen in my life with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal amounts to eight years with a total guarantee of just $24M. In addition, he will earn between $10M-$12M in incentives each year. That's about as team-friendly as a deal can get, especially for a guy who could be pretty good if his skillset translates from NPB.
Such a deal also leads one to wonder what kind of money a guy like him would have gotten on the open market and how much the posting fee is punishing players. Take Byung-Ho Park as another example; the first baseman is earning less guaranteed money over the course of his four-year contract than was given to his KBO team for his posting.
So, what's the solution? Maybe an international draft would help, allowing players to choose where to develop their careers before they begin. Maybe it wouldn't help. Would it be fair to sap talent from the likes of the KBO and NPB through an international draft while they might want to keep their stars in their country to help develop the sport there? On the other hand, the international draft works in the NBA. On the oddly-mutated third hand, the NBA draft only has two rounds, the MLB draft has 40.
The posting system is still developing, and I'm sure this isn't the final structure we'll see of it. But it leads one to wonder what an effective way to fix it really would be.
In other news:
- Despite the major changes, Jeff Sullivan doesn't think the Yankees' bullpen will really be a marked improvement.
- Marc W at U.S.S. Mariner is more cautiously optimistic about "Control the Zone" than others.