Pirates Shopping Jose Tabata

With Spring Training's end drawing closer, the Pirates are shopping right fielder Jose Tabata and also willing to listen to offers on out-of-options reliever Vin Mazzaro, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter links).

Tabata, still just 25 years of age, is owed $11.75MM over the next three seasons and has a trio of club options on his deal ranging from $6.5MM to $8.5MM. Tabata will earn $3MM in 2014, $4MM in 2015, $4.5MM in 2016 and has a $250K buyout on his $6.5MM option for 2017.

Coming off a poor 2012 performance, he reversed his fortunes in 2013 by slashing a solid .282/.342/.429, but Tabata already runs far less often than he did in his first two seasons (three steals in 2013 versus 35 in his first two campaigns) and hasn't seen much power develop. Beyond that, he's been injury prone, having spent a combined 77 games on the shelf between his 2011 and 2013 DL stints. Tabata plays a fine left field but is miscast as a center fielder and doesn't have a prototypical right fielder's arm.

Tabata's time as a starter with the organization is likely running out anyhow, a top prospect Gregory Polanco is nearly ready for the bigs. The 22-year-old ranks as baseball's No. 10 prospect according to Baseball America and is ranked 13th and 24th by MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus, respectively. Though he's already been optioned to Triple-A to open the season, Polanco is coming off a 2013 campaign in which he batted .285/.356/.434 with 12 homers and 38 stolen bases and could be with the Pirates as soon as this summer. Alongside, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, he could help give the Pirates one of the game's most exciting young outfields.

Mazzaro, 27, enjoyed a breakout campaign in his first season with Pittsburgh last year. The former A's hurler was dealt to the Royals in a trade for David DeJesus but entered 2013 with a career 5.22 ERA in 286 innings. The Pirates acquired him cheaply from Kansas City and were rewarded with 73 2/3 innings of a 2.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a career-best 52.2 percent ground-ball rate.

Pittsburgh has a wealth of options in the bullpen, highlighted by All-Star closer Jason Grilli but also featuring Mark Melancon, Justin Wilson and Tony Watson. Biertempfel notes that Mazzaro appears to be the odd man out, and the team is therefore willing to move him, but his phrasing doesn't seem to be as strong regarding Mazzaro as it is in expressing Tabata's availability. Last night, ESPN's Buster Olney speculated that the Pirates, who lost catcher Chris Stewart for an extended period of time, could match up with the Yankees in a trade; New York could use some additional stability in the bullpen, while Pittsburgh could add some depth behind the plate and seek a better defensive backup than Tony Sanchez.


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139 Comments on "Pirates Shopping Jose Tabata"


Michael A. Morrone
1 year 5 months ago

The Pirates could match up with the Pirates in a trade?

StevePegues
1 year 5 months ago

It saves on paperwork and transportation costs.

LazerTown
1 year 5 months ago

I’ll drive him to the airport myself.

Jordan Hall
1 year 5 months ago

Tony Sanchez is a fine defensive backup. The Pirates want him getting every day at bats in AAA, though. He’ll be taking over the starting role next season when Martin leaves via FA.

connfyoozed .
1 year 5 months ago

Really, the only thing the Pirates need at catcher is another veteran backstop to fill in while Stewart is hurt. In the next couple of weeks, there are going to be a lot of Miguel Olivo and Koyie Hill types floating around the Designated for Assignment nether-world. Finding a fill-in should not be an issue.

davbee
1 year 5 months ago

If Miguel Olivo and Koyie Hill are the answers, you’re asking the wrong questions.

connfyoozed .
1 year 5 months ago

I was only using them as examples because Olivo wanted out of wherever he is, and Hill just got traded. Believe me, I am not interested in either.

jayson
1 year 5 months ago

Mariners make way too much sense for Tabata.

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Justin Smoak makes way too much sense for the Pirates…

John Kreese
1 year 5 months ago

Agreed. Makes too much sense for both teams. Then SEA could make a move on Kendrys Morales. Morales/Hart/LoMo a three guy platoon for 1B/DH.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Tabata for Smoak and Montero.

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Tabata isn’t worth that much.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Montero isn’t worth anything. He’s just a throw in because I’m sure Seattle would love to get rid of him.

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

but why would the Pirates want him??

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Why do they want Volquez?

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Because they thought they could turn his career around (clearly they were wrong so far). Montero can’t play catcher, the NL doesn’t have a DH, and the Pirates don’t want him. Wouldn’t make any sense. Smoak does though!

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t see anything wrong with the Pirates putting Montero at AAA and letting him get some 1B/DH time. Remember when the Pirates took Jeff Clement off Seattle’s hands?

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Yea I can’t disagree with that but I still don’t see it happening. I didn’t realize he was just sent down to AAA already. Pirates would still have to give the Mariners more than just Tabata.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Jared Hughes

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Hughes has options left in AAA. It would be Mazzaro, Morris, or Gomez who are out of options.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

I can’t see the Pirates giving up one of those relievers ALONG with Tabata. Not to acquire Smoak. They would be better off making two separate deals.

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Why not? They can’t keep all 3 of those relievers. Not enough room on the roster. Morris is the best out of those 3. Gomez and Mazzaro are coming off career years at their peak value and relievers are expendable. Especially since they have guys like Pimentel, Welker, and Hughes who can fill in for potential injuries.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Quite frankly, I don’t think Smoak is good enough.

Todd Smith
1 year 5 months ago

Pimentel is out of options as well.

formerdraftpick
1 year 5 months ago

Because they like guys who can’t hit.

charles
1 year 5 months ago

tabata for smoak and a reliever of some kind

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Pirates are trying to get rid of RPs not trade for them. Tabata for Smoak + Prospect makes the most sense.

charles
1 year 5 months ago

your right. i dont know the pirates much. we will give you morrison and chris taylor

davbee
1 year 5 months ago

Smoak has just been named the starting first baseman in Seattle. They’re not going to trade him anytime soon.

Patrick the Pragmatist
1 year 5 months ago

Why would the M’s need two guys to get Tabata? He is okay but not a star or even close yet.

paulinpittsburgh
1 year 5 months ago

Acquiring Smoak would be a brilliant move on the part of the Pirates as he could almost certainly take over full time and provide above league average offense at first for several years while keeping cost down to boot.

As you say though, way to much sense for them to actually pull off.

Edgar4evar
1 year 5 months ago

Nope.
Tabata does not hit lefties well. He’s right handed, but the reason the M’s need a right-handed outfielder is for hitting against left-handed pitching. Tabata doesn’t fit that bill.

vtadave
1 year 5 months ago

Over the last three years, Tabata has hit lefties (.758 OPS) better than righties (.701 OPS). Not sure what I’m missing here.

Edgar4evar
1 year 5 months ago

I was looking at wRC+ where for his career he’s 104 vs. lefties and 103 vs. righties, meaning he has no real split and is only slightly above average against lefties. Last season he was actually significantly worse against lefties with a 103/122 split.

Even at that he’d be one of four Mariners who are above-average against left handed pitching. If all he costs is Smoak or Morrison then it wouldn’t be the worst deal ever.

daveineg
1 year 5 months ago

Mazzaro isn’t likely to repeat his 2013. Tabata is an ideal 4th OF. Nice player but without the power to start for most teams in a corner OF spot. He’s having tough spring but I’m surprised the Pirates would give up on him now based on that.

Seamaholic
1 year 5 months ago

Makes too much $$. Pirates are scraping for pennies.

vtadave
1 year 5 months ago

Maybe, but he just isn’t that good and they have other, cheaper options. May as well explore a deal.

letsgobucs
1 year 5 months ago

Tabata’s contract is VERY team friendly. Money isn’t the issue, the Pirates are simply trying to deal from strength – RP and corner OF. They have Travis Snyder to fill in RF until June when Gregory Polanco comes up. The Pirates have a bevy of RP too – bullpen of Grilli/Watson/Wilson/Hughes/Pimental/Gomez/Melancon fills all spots with Mazzaro, Morris as odd men out. Tabata is a guy who just needs a change of scenery, he has all the tools. I think he would flourish on another club.

arthur3
1 year 5 months ago

Morris has been “lights out” this spring. I do not see him as the “odd man out”.

JacksTigers
1 year 5 months ago

Tabata hits righties better than lefties. Could be an option for Detroit.

1 year 5 months ago

That’s the best fit I can think of right now. Platooned with Rajai?

EightMileCats
1 year 5 months ago

Makes sense. Allow Tabata to be the strong side of the platoon til Dirks comes back. Then transition Tabata to the bench role.
It’d also allow the Tigers to go with Suarez or Perez at SS and not worry so much about the drop off in offensive production at 2 spots.

terry
1 year 5 months ago

He be a perfect fit for the bluejays try him at second and has a pretty reasonable price tag

1 year 5 months ago

…second base? Tabata is an outfielder. No IF experience in the Bigs. Probably shouldn’t just put him there because he’ll have nine more hits than Ryan Going.

daveineg
1 year 5 months ago

If the Jays are looking for 2B help, they should call Brewers and inquire about Weeks. Brewers would be willing to pay significant portion of his salary.

Edgar4evar
1 year 5 months ago

The Jays and Mariners should work out a deal for Franklin. He’s the best young second baseman on the market right now. The fact that we haven’t heard rumblings makes me think the Jays don’t have what the M’s are looking for, though.

formerdraftpick
1 year 5 months ago

I always thought he would have been a better infielder. Not like he would have been the first player ever to make the transition. I would love to see the Pirates switch prospect Jeff Roy to 2B. I don’t think he’ll make it as an outfielder in this organization. A middle infielder…quite possibly.

charles
1 year 5 months ago

go and get him mariners whatcha waiting for

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

They are waiting to realize that Hart and LoMo cant play the OF…. Im sure they’ll figure it out eventually.

jayson
1 year 5 months ago

Don’t sound so confident about that.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

They will realize it by May when they are on the DL

jayson
1 year 5 months ago

Hey LoMo might stay healthy till mid June if we DH him every day!

Jacob Holton
1 year 5 months ago

The Tigers could be a suitor for him this year. It’d be good especially if they lose Hunter next season.

SportsLover
1 year 5 months ago

Tabata for Franklin?

Jacob Holton
1 year 5 months ago

You’d have to give them something else for Franklin.

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

A lot more than Tabata…

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Tabata and Jeff Locke

SportsLover
1 year 5 months ago

Why? Franklin hit only .225.

RaysfaninMN
1 year 5 months ago

By that logic, Trout could have been had for peanuts after only hitting .220 in 2011.
Tabata:
1. Costs more $$$
2. Plays a position that requires more offensive production
3. Shows signs of declining speed
Teams are showing more and more preference towards young, controllable talent with upside. Tabata has some of that, Franklin has more.

SportsLover
1 year 5 months ago

And with THAT logic, you can trade for the entire Met offense for a king’s ransom, since their hitters have low averages as well. I guess this value on low averages is a new thing I was not aware of…so sorry.

RaysfaninMN
1 year 5 months ago

I do not even know how to respond to that.

Jacob Holton
1 year 5 months ago

Not a lot more, but maybe something minor. Tabata would be in the deal, but that would mean either Barmes or Mercer goes then.

Bronx Bombers
1 year 5 months ago

Considering Tabata seems offensively superior why so?

The_Unnatural
1 year 5 months ago

1. Franklin has a very high ceiling and has 6 years of control left
2. Tabata plays corner outfield and Franklin plays middle infield.

James
1 year 5 months ago

I would be livid as an M’s fan if they did that trade, Tabata for Franklin. I’d want nothing to do with Tabata. The M’s OF is one big logjam and adding Tabata to the mix would not solve anything as he is not distinguishably better than what they have now.

letsgobucs
1 year 5 months ago

No way Seattle would give up Franklin – or Smoak for that matter – straight up for Tabata. I’m a Pirates fan and I’m willing to admit that.

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Either I am under-appreciating Tabata or the the rest of the MLB fans are mistaken about how bad Tabata really is. A majority of the time Tabata is painful to watch play baseball.

Joe W.
1 year 5 months ago

You are just remembering ’11 and ’12 which where down right bad. ’10 and ’13 where fair. People are also overvaluing players like Smoak

Jake L
1 year 5 months ago

Still he isn’t an everyday outfielder. He was a solid 4th OF and injury replacement but he isn’t an everyday guy in my opinion.

Joe W.
1 year 5 months ago

yeah I can see him being an everyday player in the next year or two…. assuming he doesn’t regress… i would like to give’m one more season to grow into the ‘big boy’ shoes but with Polanco.. he’ll end up just getting in the way. I still .282 isn’t bad especially if he can round off the rest of the game some.

Joe W.
1 year 5 months ago

On some teams, with continued improvement he surely could be an everyday player.. but there is still a question IF he will continue improving or regress back .. if he had a more team friendly contract i would love to keep him around in case Palonco doesn’t put on a show in the second half.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Jose Tabata and Vin Mazarro for Mike Carp.

TL
1 year 5 months ago

Maybe Carp + Lavarnway?

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Lavarnway doesn’t really fit with the Pirates long-term.

TL
1 year 5 months ago

Right. I was thinking more as AAA depth with some small upside.

raffish
1 year 5 months ago

You’d pay more for Carp than Smoak? Smoak has been less than stellar, but Carp is a 25th man. He had success over 200 at-bats because the Sox platooned him in a good hitters stadium. He has no defensive position, either. At least one can hope Smoak will take a small step forward, especially outside of Safeco. He could OPS .800+ with good defense in another park.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

I would, yes. PNC Park has a short RF porch, which should maximize Carp’s power. And there’s no way Carp is a worse defender at 1B than Garrett Jones. I’m just not a believer in Smoak.

connfyoozed .
1 year 5 months ago

I can see that deal, Ron…with perhaps a catcher thrown in, although I don’t think it would net them Lavarnway.

Tko11
Tko11
1 year 5 months ago

Sox have nowhere to put Tabata…

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Without Carp, yes they do. Plus Gomes and Sizemore aren’t signed past 2014.

Tko11
Tko11
1 year 5 months ago

They still have Carp…and there will be better options than Tabata in the future. For this year, Tabata has a 2.2 WAR in 402 career games. Any in house option would be just as good if they really needed and OF.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

“Jose Tabata and Vin Mazarro for Mike Carp”

The Pirates would be getting Carp bro

1 year 5 months ago

Mets make a lot if sense too

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Mets are interesting. How about Tabata, Morris, and Josh Harrison for Daniel Murphy. Murphy platoons with Sanchez at 1B while backing up Walker at 2B.

1 year 5 months ago

Rather get someone with pop

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Daniel Murphy had 40 and 38 doubles the last two seasons respectively. He is a .290 career hitter, and he also stole 23 bases last season. Who wouldn’t like to add those numbers to the Pirates offense? Not to mention he adds versatility, being able to play 1B, 2B, 3B, and OF. I think he would be a great fit with the Pirates.

OriginalHitman
1 year 5 months ago

“Not to mention he adds versatility, being able to play 1B, 2B, 3B, and OF”

Trust me, you don’t wanna see Murph in the OF.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

We really wouldn’t need him in the OF. Just trying to strengthen my point.

OriginalHitman
1 year 5 months ago

I know, just saying.

I admire the Pirates OF depth (even though I like our own configuration coming together with Lagares being in CF & Puello coming soon to patrol RF) and I wish we could produce a guy like McCutchen or Polanco, although I’m very curious about our recent draftee Ivan Wilson. Got a good feeling about him even though he looks to be a long ways away.

EightMileCats
1 year 5 months ago

Could base something around Tabata for Ike. (note, base… I’m sure there’d be more moving pieces)
Give the Pirates a 1b… and if the Pirates can fix him, they’d have a solid 1b with power

Jacob Holton
1 year 5 months ago

Tabata, Bryan Morris, Phil Irwin, and Andy Oliver, for Smoak, Charlie Furbush. Pirates let Snider take over in right for a little until Polanco gets called up. Smoak can take over at first with Sanchez batting against lefties every once in a while. Too late to have Sanchez learn another position but maybe RF. Furbush could battle it out with Wilson or Watson. Loser gets sent down or traded for top tier starter. Tabata helps in Seattle, maybe LF or RF. Bryan Morris is a minor upgrade to the bullpen. Oliver and Irwin battle out for rotation spot in the wake of Iwakuma and Walker injury.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t see the Pirates taking on another LH reliever. Nor to the Pirates need to trade for a top tier starter.

Joe W.
1 year 5 months ago

smoak maybe, a bit expensive for his offensive abilities IMO. then again one could say the same about Jose.

Furbush and the rest i really doubt it not unless they plan on flipping him.

Joe W.
1 year 5 months ago

I’m probably one of the few that does not want to give in on Jose especially the way he played last year (hard), but does make sense to see what you could get for him when you got someone like Polanco coming up in the summer and Snider having a good spring costing a third of what Jose does. Maybe a change of City will really spark him?

There is just no place for Vin, he did great last year and would like to keep him but it is what it is.

Bertin Lefkovic
1 year 5 months ago

I would sooner trade Austin Romine for Tony Watson or Justin Wilson than Vin Mazzaro. If necessary, I’ll take Tabata as well for Zoilo Almonte, Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, or Mason Williams.

MB923
1 year 5 months ago

I can’t picture the Yankees giving up any of them for Tabata. MAYBE Almonte. But I also don’t see the point of them getting Tabata when they already have 1 OFer locked up for the next 5 years and another for the next 7 years. Better of keeping or trading 1 or more of those guys for a pitcher of IFer, not another OFer (who should not be an everyday OFer either)

Bertin Lefkovic
1 year 5 months ago

I wasn’t proposing Almonte or one of the others straight-up for Tabata, but instead as a sweetener to be able to swap Romine for one of the Pirates’ lefty relievers. Tabata could be a productive 4th or 5th outfielder for the Yankees.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

NYY does not need any more MLB ready OF’ers and PIT is not trying to trade Tabata for another OF (For example Almonte, Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, or Mason Williams) they want a catcher. Hence the discussion of a Mazzaro for catcher trade.

connfyoozed .
1 year 5 months ago

Pirates don’t seem to have much interest in dealing either Wilson or Watson, and I don’t blame them. The pitchers out of options who could get dealt are Mazzaro, Jeanmar Gomez, Bryan Morris, and Andy Oliver. Of those, Mazzaro seems the most likely to leave.

Dj044
1 year 5 months ago

Darin Ruf for Tabata + money?

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

That’s actually not a bad deal. Even though Ruf is a RH batter, he hits RHP better.

GrilledCheese39
1 year 5 months ago

That is really weird I was about to say that…

David Kowalski
1 year 5 months ago

Oakland is another possible trade partner for the Pirates. They have an excess of catchers with John Jaso being listed as third on the depth chart. Tabata might not be the best fit as they already have a fourth outfielder in Craig Gentry but a reliever or a prospect, especially a starting pitcher would be good. Ideally, the A’s would like a fifth starter type for now but at this point there aren’t many possibilities. Besides a catcher they could also deal Albert Callaspo.

The Yankees might want Callaspo and could give up Pineda although Billy Beane would probably start with asking for both Pineda and say Adam Warren. A three way deal with the Yankees getting Callaspo and the Pirates a catcher would make good sense.

Federal League
1 year 5 months ago

Very wishful thinking on the Callaspo trade. Cashman isn’t touching that with a ten foot pole.

David Kowalski
1 year 5 months ago

Youu are probably right. But the Yankees need to replacements this year at both second base and third base and Callaspo fits into the mix at either position. I can’t think of another trade partner for Callaspo. When I said the Yankees “might want” Callaspo, that was exactly the case. Callaspo is exactly the type of veteran that Cashman has used to fill in recently. Some of them work and some don’t.

Federal League
1 year 5 months ago

The Yankees already signed those replacements as free agents. I think they feel comfortable letting the season play out for a month or two before they start trading away quality pitching depth.

Red_Line_9
1 year 5 months ago

Bucs listening to offers on “Big Inn” Vin Mazarro? Are they using a seismograph?

Nathan Boley
1 year 5 months ago

Mazzaro was pretty lights out last year. He gets made fun of because of that horrific inning in KC but he’s been a solid reliever otherwise.

Red_Line_9
1 year 5 months ago

I know what your saying…but he’s not what I’d call a solid reliever…not even based on his 2013. He had more potential with Oak and KC..and couldn’t hold an MLB role in any form. But…shoe on the other foot… I’d defend him same as you.

Damon Bowman
1 year 5 months ago

Depending on what the Pirates receive in exchange, it is possible that some team gets a steal in Tabata. He has shown some talent and is still young at 25 years old. The Pirates could be overlooking that Tabata is simply a late-bloomer. He showed a solid batting eye at every minor league stop in the Yankee and Pirate farm systems. He was never going to be a 25 HR type of hitter, but could be a top of the order table-setter if put with the right hitting coach. I’d be more than happy to see the O’s take a flyer on him if they could stick him at triple-A Norfolk for the year while they re-shape him.

Federal League
1 year 5 months ago

Outside of 2012, he’s produced at a pretty consistent level. It’s likely that we’ve already seen what kind of player he is, though I certainly believe he could squeeze more SLG out of his line.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Do you really think he’s 25 years old? Look what has happened to his body (and speed) the last few years. I think Tabata is actually close to 30, which would explain his skillset.

Federal League
1 year 5 months ago

His stolen base ability certainly cratered, but he still showed an ability to leg out triples at a pretty good clip.

Damon Bowman
1 year 5 months ago

That’s not a crazy suggestion and it’s something I hadn’t considered. However, if his age is accurate the Pirates are bailing out early on a guy who was a .290 hitter in the minors over a number of seasons.

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

The Pirates have enough OF depth that they can afford to take that gamble with Tabata if it makes this team better. Between Snider, Decker, and Dickerson, they should be able to man RF until the impending arrival of Polanco. Not to mention Lambo also becomes a RF option if the Pirates can acquire a 1B.

Red_Line_9
1 year 5 months ago

I thought the same thing about age when I saw Albert Pujols playing a few days ago. I hadn’t seen him in awhile. He’s looking old and has gotten heavy. Wow is that deal going to look ugly for the Angels

Eric
1 year 5 months ago

That is wild speculation. You have no good evidence to back up your claim.

Nathan Boley
1 year 5 months ago

It isn’t all that crazy. The Pirates have already acknowledged Tabata is likely older than he said he was when they signed him.

guest_54
1 year 5 months ago

That’s interesting considering that he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees and not the Pirates.

Bob Bunker
1 year 5 months ago

If he can play CF, might be a good player to trade Carp for. Or maybe Lavarnway + some others.

domaug
1 year 5 months ago

i believe he can play CF. more experience in the corner OF spots though.

connfyoozed .
1 year 5 months ago

He is much better in the corners than he is in CF, but he still might interest Boston nonetheless.

Tko11
Tko11
1 year 5 months ago

Why would Boston need him when they have too many outfielders already? Nava, Gomes, Carp, Victorino, Sizemore, Bradley, Brentz