Jose Tabata Rumors

NL Central Links: Taveras, Profar, Lohse, Tabata

Perhaps no player in the game brings as much focus and preparation to his at-bats as Joey Votto, ESPN's Buster Olney details in this must-read profile of the Reds first baseman (Insider subscription required).  "It's all about reframing the challenge," Votto said. "I've stopped caring about runs and RBIs. I care more about how high a percentage of productive at-bats I can have, how consistently tough and competitive I can be for the opposing pitcher. That's my goal every single time I go up there."

Here's the latest from around the NL Central…

  • A swap of Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar for Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras "has not been discussed," one of the involved GMs tells Peter Gammons of the MLB Network (Twitter link).  Needless to say, such a deal would be a blockbuster; Profar and Taveras rank first and third, respectively, on Baseball America's preseason ranking of the sport's 100 best prospects.  Gammons wonders if Profar-for-Taveras would be on the table "if [Scott] Boras didn't represent [Elvis] Andrus," thus making it uncertain if Andrus would sign an extension to remain in Texas.
  • Few teams would benefit from signing Kyle Lohse as much as the Brewers, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opines.  The Brewers have been adamant about going with younger pitchers and not spending big on veteran starters, but Haudricourt wonders if Lohse could be an option given how some of Milwaukee's current rotation members have struggled during Spring Training.
  • Mark Rogers, one of those struggling pitchers, is out of options and the Brewers are looking at several different ways to avoid losing him on waivers, Haudricourt writes.
  • Jose Tabata needs to produce to remain with the Pirates, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette outlines how Tabata is out of options and, if he doesn't make the roster, could be a good trade chip due to his team-friendly contract.  Click here for a full list of every player who is out of options this spring.
  • From earlier today, the Cardinals released Ronny Cedeno and we heard the Tigers weren't interested in Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol.

NL Notes: Pirates, Nationals, Cardinals, Kershaw

With Spring Training in full swing, wonderful stories from present and past are always emerging. Take Rays starter Chris Archer, who is not just fighting for a spot on Tampa Bay’s opening-day roster, but is on a quest for self-discovery. (As told by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.)  Or today's matchup between former and current Padres workhorses Jake Peavy and Clayton Richard, who were traded for one another back at the 2009 trade deadline.  (Courtesy of Corey Brock of MLB.com.)  Or, going back further still, recall Roberto Clemente, whose presence was felt strongly in Fort Myers, FL during his playing days and lives on vividly today. (From David Dorsey of News-Press.com.)  On to some National League notes …

  • While there was never a question who would cover the right-field grass for Pittsburgh when Clemente was roaming Forbes Field, the team must find someone to man that role in 2013. Jose Tabata has shown hustle and power this spring that have exceeded the Pirates' expectations, Tom Singer of MLB.com writes.  Still just 24 years old, Tabata’s strong showing thus far has only further complicated Pittsburgh’s right field situation. As Singer explains, in addition to Tabata and trade-deadline acquisition Travis Snider (who the team hopes will lay claim to the position), the Pirates are considering options like Clint Robinson, Jerry Sands, Alex Presley, Garrett Jones, Felix Pie, Darren Ford, and Brad Hawpe
  • Also making a surprising impression in Pirates camp is right-handed reliever Brooks Brown, who Singer says has emerged as an unexpected favorite to earn a spot in the Bucs' bullpen.  Brown was selected by Arizona in the first round back in 2006, but has yet to make a big league appearance.
  • Another darkhorse bullpen candidate who appears to be making strong moves towards a roster spot is the Nationals' Fernando Abad.  As reported by The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, with fellow left-handed relievers Bill Bray, Will Ohman, and Brandon Mann being sent to minor league camp, the 27-year-old minor-league-invitee Abad now stands as the most likely candidate to round out the Washington bullpen should the Nationals decide to keep another lefty alongside Zach Duke.  (Ohman was apparently cut during today's game, just after his poor outing, according to Mark Townsend of Yahoo.)
  • The Nationals also welcomed back catcher Wilson Ramos, who made his first appearance in a game since tearing his ACL early in the 2012 season, reports James Wagner of The Washington Post.  Ramos will likely split time with Kurt Suzuki as soon as he is able to catch regularly.
  • With Rafael Furcal being shut down indefinitely after a setback in his recovery from the elbow injury he suffered late last season, the Cardinals are planning what GM John Mozeliak is calling “an open competition” at shortstop, reports Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. After emerging last season when Furcal went down, Pete Kozma will battle with veteran Ronny Cedeno for the starting job out of camp.
  • The Dodgers' outstanding young starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, says that he is not thinking about whether or not he can top the Felix Hernandez contract, Tracy Ringolsby or MLB.com writes.  Kershaw explains that he'll "play the game the same way" regardless of salary because "it's the best job you could have. … I talk to my buddies all the time.  They are putting on suits and ties, and going to the office every day.  I put on a uniform and play a game."

NL Central Notes: Wandy, Tabata, McCutchen

The latest from around the NL Central…



Pirates Extend Jose Tabata

The Pirates have locked up one of their core players for nearly a decade. The team officially announced today that outfielder Jose Tabata has signed a six-year contract extension with option years for 2017, 2018, and 2019.

114100719037_Brewers_v_Pirates The guaranteed portion of the deal runs through 2016 and includes contract restructuring for 2011. Tabata will receive a $1MM signing bonus, and his 2011 salary increases to $500K. He will then earn $750K in 2012, $1MM in 2013, $3MM in 2014, $4MM in 2015, and $4.5MM in 2016. The three options total $22.5MM – $6.5MM in 2017, $7.5MM in 2018, and $8.5MM in 2019. The Pirates will have the opportunity to buy out Tabata for $250K in any of the three option years, which brings the outfielder's guarantee to $15MM. If the Pirates exercise all three options, the contract could be worth up to $37.25MM.

The contract covers Tabata's three remaining pre-arbitration seasons and his three arbitration seasons. Prior to the completion of the contract, the outfielder amicably parted ways with ACES, his previous agency.  He returned from a stint on the DL with a strained quadriceps this week. Tabata is in his second MLB season, and the 23-year-old has a .264/.351/.362 line with 14 doubles, four homers and 14 stolen bases this year.

He finished eighth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting last year and has played all three outfield positions in the Major Leagues. In just shy of 1500 innings, Tabata's outfield defense is league average, according to UZR. The Pirates acquired Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf from the Yankees for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady at the 2008 trade deadline.

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes first reported that the two sides were discussing a long-term deal (all four Twitter links). Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, and Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes (multiple links) added details.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Pirates, Jose Tabata Nearing Extension

5:32pm: Rojas reports that the total value of the contract would be $37.25MM if the three options are exercised (link in Spanish). Tabata would receive a $1MM signing bonus, and his salary in 2011 would increase to $500K. He would then earn $750K in 2012, $1MM in 2013, $3MM in 2014, $4MM in 2015, and $4.5MM in 2016. That puts the guarantee at six years and $14.75MM, and the value of the three options years at $22.5MM combined. 

4:01pm: The Pirates are putting the finishing touches on Tabata's deal, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. An announcement could come as soon as tomorrow.

1:48pm: MLBTR's Tim Dierkes hears that Tabata's deal with the Pirates will include three team options (Twitter link). Denard Span's five-year, $16.5MM deal presumably figured prominently in to the discussions.

12:47pm: The sides are nearing a six-year agreement, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (on Twitter). The deal would run through 2016 and include contract restructuring for 2011, according to Rojas. Such a deal would cover Tabata's three remaining pre-arbitration seasons and his three arbitration seasons. 

12:32pm: The Pirates are discussing a multiyear deal with Jose Tabata, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned (all Twitter links). The outfielder recently amicably parted ways with ACES, his previous agency.  Tabata returned from a stint on the DL with a strained quadriceps this week.

Tabata is in his second MLB season, but he didn't debut until last June, so he doesn't project to be arbitration eligible until after 2013 or eligible for free agency until after 2016. The 23-year-old has a .264/.351/.362 line with 14 doubles, four homers and 14 stolen bases this year.

He finished eighth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting last year and has played all three outfield positions in the Major Leagues. In just shy of 1500 innings, Tabata's outfield defense is league average, according to UZR. The Pirates acquired Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf from the Yankees for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady at the 2008 trade deadline.

This post was originally published on August 19th.


Rosenthal On Nolasco, Rays, Upton, Jimenez

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports brought us another edition of Full Count today while sporting yet another fantastic bow tie.  Here are some highlights..

  • The Marlins could wind up trading Ricky Nolasco if they fail to get back to the .500 mark.  The Rangers have shown interest in Nolasco since last winter and the Yankees could look to reunite him with manager Joe Girardi.  If the Fish make such a deal, it won't be in one of their classic salary dumps, it will be instead for baseball reasons.  They're looking to increase their payroll ahead of their move into a brand new stadium and they could be major players for free agents this winter.
  • The Rays still could end up as sellers but right now they appear to be buyers as they were looking to get Francisco Rodriguez before the Brewers swooped in at the final hour.  If Tampa Bay sells, it's doubtful that they'll move any of their starters but B.J. Upton is another story.  In theory, the Nationals, Phillies, and Braves could all be potential destinations for the outfielder.
  • The three teams with the best chance of meeting the Rockies' asking price for Ubaldo Jimenez are the Yankees, Tigers, and Reds.  The concerns with Jimenez are that he's not back to his 2009/early 2010 form and that his velocity has dropped.  One scout told Rosenthal that he's not back to his ace form yet but he's getting close.
  • The first-place Pirates are after upgrades but they should also improve from within.  They have a number of injured players returning such as Jose Tabata, Evan Meek, and Ross Ohlendorf.  The Bucs continue to search for a bat but they're not terribly interested in the Cubs' Carlos Pena.

Quick Hits: Buchholz, Ishikawa, Tabata, Rivera

Rounding up Sunday's links, as Andre Ethier celebrates his 29th birthday….


Pirates Notes: Vazquez, Tabata, Alvarez

Let's check out some Pirates-related tidbits courtesy of MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch..

  • With Ramon Vazquez on the trading block, Langosch stresses that any talk of him being Texas-bound is merely conjecture at this point.  Furthermore, if they do move him, they are unlikely to get much back and may have to eat some of his $2MM salary.  However, Pittsburgh might be willing to move the 33-year-old for next to nothing.
  • One reader asks if the Pirates are considering locking up their young prospects, like Milwaukee did with Ryan Braun or like Tampa Bay did with Evan Longoria.  Langosch says that the Pirates will wait until players like Jose Tabata, Brad Lincoln, and Pedro Alvarez establish themselves in the majors to open up discussions.
  • Speaking of Alvarez, Langosch expects the Pirates to hold off on bringing him up to the big leagues.  Pittsburgh delayed Andrew McCutchen's promotion last season in order to give him more seasoning in the minors and, in all likelihood, to extend his time under team control.

Odds & Ends: Hudson, Red Sox, Bedard, Mets

A Super batch of links..

  • In a piece for Fangraphs, Dave Cameron writes that the Twins are in the mix for the best offseason in baseball.  Earlier this week, Minnesota agreed to a one-year deal with Orlando Hudson for just $5MM and appear to be close to locking up Joe Mauer.
  • Even former Met Darryl Strawberry offered up a critique of the Mets' quiet offseason, writes Newsday's David Lennon. Strawberry said that the offseason "could have been better," when asked about it. Lennon's piece looks at some offseason targets that never became a reality for New York.
  • Following up on yesterday's news that Bobby Kielty is converting to a pitcher, MLBTR heard from Kielty himself via email. Kielty says his ultimate goal is to be a right-handed bat off the bench and eat up some relief innings if necessary. He threw some bullpens for the Mets last season and has thrown for Oakland as well. Kielty says he reads MLBTR every day. Thanks for the support, Bobby!
  • Peter Abraham has the full list of players who will be with the Red Sox in training camp this year.
  • Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports that Erik Bedard seriously considered an offer from the Orioles similar to the deal he signed to return to Seattle. 
  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post spoke one agent about the Mets, who said "How can you have that payroll and still not have a starting catcher or first baseman, a second baseman you hate and no legitimate starters after Johan?”
  • Paul Lo Duca is unlikely to accept a minor league assignment if he doesn't make the Rockies, reports Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post. Colorado signed Lo Duca to a minor league deal in January.
  • Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says that Pirates' GM Neal Huntington admitted that there are "a lot of rumblings" that prospect Jose Tabata might actually be in his mid-20's. Tabata's listed age is 21, and ESPN's Keith Law ranked him as the 57th best prospect in baseball last month. The Pirates originally acquired Tabata from the Yankees in 2008 as part of the Xavier Nady-Damaso Marte trade.

MRI On Pirates Prospect Reveals Inflammation

6:59pm: Apparently, the Pirates couldn’t wait until Tuesday. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found out from Huntington that Tabata had the MRI today and everything looks fine.

“He does have some mild rotator cuff inflammation, but is able to return to activities as (the pain is) tolerated.”

6:11pm: Highly-touted prospect Jose Tabata will have an MRI done on his right shoulder Tuesday after alerting the Pittsburgh Pirates’ medical staff to some recent soreness, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports.

General manager Neal Huntington told Langosch that the team’s medical staff does not believe there is reason for serious concern. The MRI should help identify to doctors what is causing the outfielder discomfort.

Tabata was the marquee piece in last summer’s trade that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the New York Yankees. He quickly became one of the Pirates’ top prospects and has already drawn unsolicited praise from manager John Russell this spring.

Tabata, 20, is 0-for-3 with three walks this spring.