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Without changes to these rule the KBO would not be able to compete with an NPB team for amateur international talent like Stewart.It’s too early to know if the Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks’ decision to sign Stewart to a contract more lucrative than he could have received in the United States will be become more common or if it will prove an anomaly.
Initially, hard caps were placed on the total amount that teams could spend on players chosen in MLB’s first year player entry draft, but similar caps were eventually extended to cover the amount that each team could spend on signing international amateur free agents outside the United States.
Those caps may now have opened a potential window for teams in Japan and South Korea to compete for top amateur talent.
As long as he plays parts of the next six years in the NPB’s top league and is successful, he’ll be eligible to go through the posting system for players to move from the NPB to MLB at a younger age then most players are eligible for free agency in the United States.
With MLB teams shifting spending from older players with strong track records to younger players to capture their peak years, Stewart could be in line for something similar to what Yusei Kikuchi received last winter as a solid, but not star player when he was posted and signed with the Seattle Mariners for three years and $43 million.
MLB is currently a legal cartel which restricts entry, exit and competition.
Some areas have too few teams and others have too many.
Contrast that with Jake de Grom, one of MLB’s top pitchers, who only earned .4 million last season going through MLB’s arbitration system at an older age then when Stewart could potentially return to the United States.
A move similar to Stewart’s has become potentially appealing as MLB has sought to find way to limit spending on amateur players.
However, it could lead to resistance from one of the other major stakeholders, either the players or the owners.
However, in concert, each of these proposed reforms offers something substantial to players or owners so that if all three reforms are jointly pursued, all stakeholders could gain from their joint adoption.