Author's note: I wrote this last Wednesday, before the Thanksgiving holiday, but decided not to publish it and deleted it. For some reason, it was deleted, and I've changed my mind and decided to publish it, with a few edits.
Without assessing blame, I have to say that I'm quite disappointed at the way Oakland-Hisashi Iwakuma negotiations have gone. Being a resident of the Bay Area, I was really looking forward to the opportunity to watch each one of his starts and seeing if my optimism in him was justified. It's not too late for the two sides to work out a deal but it isn't looking good.
Iwakuma's agent Don Nomura was a constant presence in the Japanese media for a few days after talks broke down last weekend. This Sponichi piece with his comments on the posting system caught my eye.
"This system is extremely one-side. The team (that acquired negotiating rights) can offer a minor league contract (and break off negotiations) without losing anything. The player's side is at a disadvantage."
"The top three bidding teams should get negotiating rights."
Despite my afore stated disappointment, I find this kind of perversely poignant. Nomura's gaming of the system in the 90′s led to the creation of the posting system. It seems oddly appropriate that he's now frustrated by its limitations.
Neither side is without fault here - Iwakuma's camp should have known that they were leaving a lot of negotiating leverage on the table by pursuing the posting process. And why did Oakland put in such an outsized bid (third biggest winning posting fee), only to follow it up with a seemingly low-ball offer? We're missing some data and the story isn't over yet, so we'll just have to see how it plays out.