The Pirates have designated right-handed-hitting outfielder Jose Tabata for assignment, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Tabata’s struggles led to him being outrighted earlier in the year, though he made his way back to the big league roster and ultimately played in the Wild Card game.
Tabata, 26, has not lived up to the expectations that led the team to sign him to a six-year, $15MM extension in August of 2011. Over the 2012-14 seasons, he has logged only 901 plate appearances, slashing .266/.325/.375. Tabata also saw his promising early numbers on the basepaths (35 steals; 14 times caught in 2010-11) wither away (12 bags stolen, 15 times caught since).
Though Tabata’s .771 OPS in part-time duty last year raised some hope that Pittsburgh would recoup some production from its investment, he again faltered this year. Over just 186 plate appearances, he posted a meager .282/.314/.333 line.
In the end, the Pirates remain on the hook for $8.75MM over the next two years. That includes a $250K buyout for the successive club options that come with his contract. ($6.5MM for 2017, escalating by $1MM thereafter.) Though the early-career extension did not work out, neither does it constitute too serious an impediment, even to a small-payroll club like the Bucs.
Tabata’s contract has already passed through waivers once, but it is not clear that he has much of a future in Pittsburgh at this point. As things stand, the Pirates seem likely to allow Travis Snider a chance this spring to hold off youngster Gregory Polanco for the regular role, perhaps deploying a righty bat to complement those left-handed swingers. Snider, who slashed .264/.338/.438 and hit 13 home runs through 359 plate appearances, has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility remaining.
Bit surprising. I still wouldn’t mind taking a shot on him. He is still potentially locked up 5 more years at reasonable prices if he breaks out. Sure he hasn’t been stellar, but he just turned 26, and his bat has been league average so far.
I wouldn’t want to claim him – as then you get the “benefit” of those reasonable prices if he figures it out, but you’re on the hook for the full boat if he doesn’t.
He’s cleared waivers once. I’d expect him to clear again if I was an interested team. And then pitch him as a free agent if he refuses the outright assignment.
There have been rumors bantering about for years, that Tabata is actually older than 26. Possibly giving credence to the rumors, his skills and speed have greatly eroded in a very short period of time.
Wow, I remember first seeing him at Spring Training in 2011. I thought he was pretty good, if anything at least a plus defender in the outfield. I gotta believe someone will give him another chance. Maybe, he just needs a change of scenery.
Lee Foo Young
no longer a plus defender, nor a plus runner or hitter.
he needs a change of brain, not scenery. his work ethic is very questionable.
I’d take a chance on him. Does he have any options left?
Doubt it. Options hard to calculate, but he has been up and down every year since 2010
It actually not too complicated, a team has 3 option years once the player is added to the 40 man. An option is used by spending 20 days in the minors. During that option season the team can move them up and down as needed.
Tabata was out of options heading into this year and was already previously out-righted.
A lot less to eat than, say, the Dan Uggla contract, but I wonder if teams are going to reexamine the practice of inking early career extensions for such a long period.
Look at other long-term deals inked in that timeframe — Joe Mauer, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez and Ricky Romero to name a few.
Why would they rethink?
Braun, Tulo, and Cargo deals are absolute bargains compared to what they could have gotten on the market.
Dollar wise, yes. But try trading any one of those three today, given each player’s injury trouble. I hate to see what the trade value is three or four years down the road.
I gotta think Tulo would find a taker. Even part-time, he’s been really valuable.
They barely lost any money on this deal — even assuming he never wears the Pirates uni again. It’s still well worth the risk in many cases b/c the upside is huge. Teams have a ton of leverage, especially over guys who are not stars and/or did not sign for big bonuses.
Mauer’s deal wasn’t an early career extension. He was already extended once in his career to cover arb years and his 8 year extension came a year before he would have reached free agency.
Right you are. I had forgotten there was an extension before the current extension.
Mickey Jennifer Wind
it all about expectations. i would take him. not much power, but his average is still ok. He can be a useful 7 hitter, He has to play some D.
I could see a team like the Braves, Mariners, Rays or Twins, looking for a cost effective outfielder with upside, taking the chance on a guy like him. If nothing else, the team would get a quality backup option for less than the price of a backup like Nate McLouth ($5 million 2015 salary).
I think we are past the point where we can expect Tabata to break out, but if he could summon just one secondary skill – defense, base running, patience or power – he would be perfectly serviceable as a 4th OF and more or less earn his remaining salary.
That said, I don’t think the Pirates’ FO is optimistic he will bounce back to even his ’13 production, and they would be thrilled if someone would kindly take him off their hands. Odds are no one does and he will be in Bradenton next spring.
I agree with the first part of your last sentence, but not the second. I don’t think anyone takes him off of our hands… now. However, I would bet against Jose being around for spring training.
Time will obviously tell on that one. I think if a team is desperate enough for a 4th OF type, they can get one just as easily from San Diego or Colorado without the 2-year commitment.
Somebody will take a shot on him. Don’t know who, but somebody will. Guy has a relatively decent contact tool, and solid on-base ability, with some speed (though he hasn’t shown it recently). I mean, even with the early-career extension, he’s not terribly expensive. Worth a chance if you’re a team with questions in the outfield.
I really hope the white sox take a flier on him. His contract is decent and he is young enough to turn it around. Plus it’s not like the white sox are stocked in the outfield. Granted I would love them to throw money at Tomas but doubt that happens.
The Pirates and the fans haven’t been happy with Tabata over the past few years. If he does make it through and get back to the minors, I would work him out at 2b and 3b to see what he could do. He is an athelete and should be able to adapt to one of the two positions. Possibily a future utility player?
Nicolas Cage Jr.
This would be a really good fit for the Reds. He is an upgrade over Ludwick and Heisey and comes at a cheaper price in which the Reds need. Not saying he is the future, but he is an upgrade.
If the Reds opt to take a flier on Tabata, one could be reasonably certain that they will be fully aware of his limitations, as well as his perceived strengths. After watching him play in Pittsburgh since his rookie year, two words probably describe him best: lackadaisical and inconsistent. He is slow afoot, an average defender, at best (he will make the routine play, but never exert the effort for the exceptional play), and hits with limited power. It is not necessarily the talent that seems to hold Tabata back, it is his perceived desire to play with maximum effort and concentration.
From a financial standpoint versus organizational needs, is there a team who may take him? I’m thinking no unless the Pirates make a trade and pay for a significant part of the contract.
When Tabata first came up, he could actually get from home to first faster than McCutchen (there’s a YT out there proving this). Some hammy issues, questionable work ethic, bit of weight gain have slowed him down, but I wouldn’t say he’s “slow”. Can still cover ground and go first-to-third, has a plus OF arm, has opposite field gap power, good hit-and-run skills, can extend an at-bat. The fact that many thought he would develop power but hasn’t has perhaps hurt him more than anything. But he’d make a solid 4th OF for many teams and could start for some.
And Bucs shouldn’t need a RH OF bat as Snider has exceptional reverse splits. If they drop Gaby and look for a RH bat to platoon with Pedro at 1b, ideally that guy can also play a little OF.
Big Giant Head
Folks, the big issue has been his attitude. He is a cancer, and part of his demotion earlier in the year is that management was worried his attiude would affect other young players the team was bringing up. They did not want him rubbing off on Gregory Polanco. Tabata will not be back with the Bucs.
I figured the odd man out would be Snider. Two left handed bats in right seemed redundant. Though Snider is a decent glove with a good arm and doesn’t seem to have many mental mistakes.. if anything he is pretty sharp on that regard keeping base runners from advancing. Not to mention about as good average and more power than Jose.
Jose didn’t get much time but did post a decent average with average or better speed getting on a few times on infield hits though not much of a stealer any more. Has decent range in the field but arm isn’t as strong and in the past has had many mental mistakes or lack of hustle but has gotten somewhat better at that.. As a 4th Outfielder he is a solid option for anyone in need but is over priced at his current skill set.
A change of scenery may help him out. Hopefully where ever he ends up he succeeds .. unless he is play’n the bucs 😉