Willihammer, that's all really interesting. It just doesn't totally address my question.
I really don't care about an mlb player going to Japan (which I view primarily as a way of resuscitating a career rather than something done on an upward career arc).
If I'm understanding it correctly, it is years 8 and 9 that seem unfair -- because they would be later than most mlb-drafted players (excellent ones, that is) would hit free agency.
So, if wikipedia is right (sorry, I have no clear idea where to find the best info on international players), Tanaka was drafted in 2006.
I looked back at the 2006 mlb draft and it looks to me like the closest comparables are Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum and Max Scherzer (not necessarily in terms of ability but in terms of career arc).
Kershaw and Scherzer won't be eligible for free agency until 2015. Lincecum probably would have first been eligible in 2013 (I think).
I'm not sure why Tanaka should receive consideration in becoming a free agent earlier than Kershaw and Scherzer.
I'm trying to understand how the $20m that Rakutan gets for giving up Tanaka at this point compares to what L.A. or Detroit could get in value if they made Kershaw or Scherzer available for trade.
EDIT: That first paragraph sounds a little snotty and its not meant to be. I really do appreciate the info you provided in your last post, Willihammer.
Edited by JB_Iowa, 18 December 2013 - 01:25 PM.