Though the Yankees don’t know how long it will take to bring Robinson Cano back to The Bronx, there are defined steps to follow in the free agent process.

When it comes to Masahiro Tanaka, considered the best pitcher available once he is posted by Japan’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, it’s not so clear.

With Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional League negotiating a new posting agreement that would steer some of the posting money to go to the player, there is no process in place for Japanese teams to post players.

Previously, a Japanese team posted a player, took the highest bid and the player was able to negotiate with the winning team. The posting process used to open Nov. 1.

The Yankees are one of several teams interested in Tanaka, who some talent evaluators like better than Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish, because of his impeccable control.

Having lost Andy Pettitte to retirement, Phil Hughes a lock to leave via free agency and unsure if free agent Hiroki Kuroda will return, the Yankees need to rebuild the rotation that currently consists of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and three vacancies.

Tanaka turned 25 Friday and was beaten for the first time this year in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Yomiuri in Game 6 of the Nippon Series. Tanaka allowed four runs, 12 hits and a walk in nine innings, and threw upward of 150 pitches. Tanaka won Game 2 with a complete-game effort.

The manager tried to remove Tanaka, but told reporters the pitcher declined by saying, “Let me keep pitching by pride of ace.”

During the regular season, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-hander with a 93-mph fastball and a disappearing split, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 games. In 212 innings, he allowed less than a baserunner an inning (168 hits, 32 walks) and fanned 183.

The highest posting fee is expected to surpass the $51.7 million the Rangers used to land the rights to talk to Darvish, who signed a six-year, $56 million deal and has developed into one of the majors’ best pitchers.