Frank Coonelly wins, Pirates win, Pirates fans win!

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“According to two people at the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Frank Coonelly, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, proposed that the posting fee, which can exceed $50 million for a top player, should count against the bidding team’s luxury-tax figure.

That proposal seemed to be aimed directly at the Yankees, who are planning to bid for Tanaka but are also concerned about staying under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold.”

Now that’s what I’m talking about. No more buying off the Bucs with an All-Star Game. No more smoke and mirrors.

Frank Coonelly of the little, old Pittsburgh Pirates complained about the posting system for Japanese players back at the baseball meetings in November, according to the New York Times.

In a nutshell, Coonelly said that teams spending upwards of $50 million just for the right to speak with the Japanese teams which employ star players should have that $50 million count against that MLB team’s luxury-tax figure.

MLB teams can spend up to $189 million without being subject to a luxury tax.

Since Coonelly took his stand back in November, a revised posting system was agreed upon which maxes out posting bids at $20 million.

The latest reports have the Rakuten Golden Eagles refusing to post star Japanese pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka. The Golden Eagles apparently believe Tanaka is worth more to their team than the $20 million maximum posting fee they would receive from major league baseball.

Consider this a huge victory for Coonelly, the Pirates, and fans of Pittsburgh and small market teams everywhere.

Two years ago today, the Texas Rangers won the rights just to negotiate with pitcher Yu Darvish for $51.7 million! That’s $200K more than the Bucs signed Andrew McCutchen to a six-year extension!

Darvish’s $51.7 million didn’t even include his salary the Rangers would pay. How was that fair?

It’s one thing to acknowledge big market baseball teams have a natural advantage over small market squads like Pittsburgh — quite another to simply rig the system.

Ken Rosenthal said Thursday morning on Hot Stove that Tanaka’s posting fee — prior to Coonelly’s negotiations with MLB — would have eclipsed the $100 million mark. Think about that. One hundred million dollars, and that’s before Tanaka even discusses his own salary.

The New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs would have paid Nippon Professional Baseball more money just for signing one player than the Pirates and a host of other baseball teams pay their entire 40-man rosters.

Expect the big market teams to find eventually find loop holes in the system. They always do. But for one day, Coonelly can sit back and know he did the right thing for the competitiveness of major league baseball.

Thank you Frank Coonelly!

**********

Treasure Life!
JT

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