MLB discusses posting system, pitch clock

November 15th, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Shohei Ohtani's expected move to Major League Baseball could take place next month at the earliest, as MLB continues to work toward a new posting agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball.

Dan Halem, MLB's chief legal officer, said on Wednesday that the league and the MLB Players Association are in active discussions about a new posting system, which allows NPB teams to make their players available to Major League clubs.

The previous posting system agreement expired on Nov. 1. Negotiations between MLB and NPB began back in April, and while a tentative framework for a new deal was reached between the two, the Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for the MLBPA to weigh in on any foreign protocol agreement.

"Right now, we're in a standstill period," Halem said during his news conference wrapping up the General Managers Meetings. "We agreed with our Players Association and the NPB that there will be no player transfers until we have a new protocol agreement."

Video: Feinsand gives update on Ohtani's posting

Ohtani plans to make the move to MLB this offseason, having expressed his desire to leave Japan to pursue a big league career. Because he is 23 years old, he falls under the designation of an international amateur player, limiting the amount of money clubs can pay the pitcher/outfielder.

Halem said he's "hopeful" that MLB and the Players Association can wrap up their discussions "maybe within a week," and while any agreement would have to be voted on by the owners, that vote won't take place during this week's Owners Meetings in Orlando, but rather via telephone once all negotiations are concluded.

"Once it's approved, then it will go on place," Halem said. "I'm hopeful that we'll have a new system in place in which players can be posted by the NPB in early December."

• Halem said MLB is in negotiations with the MLBPA regarding pace of play issues, with pitch clocks, mound visits and innings breaks among the topics being discussed.

Video: Halem talks about pace of play negotiations

"I would characterize those discussions as being in the beginning; we have a ways to go," Halem said. "I think we're going to be busy with that topic over the next few weeks."

Halem said negotiations would likely need to be completed by mid-January in order to roll them out and explain them thoroughly to both umpires and clubs.

Players were heavily involved in the early meetings, and Halem anticipates they may be involved in the negotiations over the next few weeks.

• The issue of electronic devices in dugouts was addressed during the GM Meetings, particularly in relation to sign-stealing in the wake of this season's situation involving the Yankees and Red Sox.

"It was really just to make sure everybody was on the same page and putting responsibility on the general manager to ensure that the manager and his coaching staff know that there shall be no electronic devices in the dugout, including watches that have the capability to get an internet signal," Halem said.