Jose Tabata started slow, but had a strong finish to the 2013 season. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Pirates Shopping Jose Tabata; Snider and Mazzaro Could Be Available

Rob Biertempfel tweets this morning that the Pittsburgh Pirates have been shopping outfielder Jose Tabata.

As Biertempfel points out, a trade might be difficult, since Tabata is set to make $12.25 M over the next three seasons. He will make $3 M this year, $4 M in 2015, $4.5 M in 2016, and has three option years beyond that with a total of $750,000 in buyouts ($250,000 per year).

Last year Tabata had a 1.1 WAR, which is worth at least $5.5 M on the open market. So his contract isn’t that bad if he can repeat that success. That 1.1 WAR would be worth $16.5 M over three years on the open market. If that WAR represents his value, then he’d be worth about $4-5 M, which is a Grade B hitter or two Grade C pitching prospects. The downside to this is that other teams might be willing to try their own internal options, hoping for a one win player at a cheaper salary.

For Tabata to have value, you’d have to find a team that either has poor internal options, or a team that thinks he can improve his game going forward, making him more of a value.

Biertempfel also says that the Pirates are willing to listen on Travis Snider, and that Vin Mazzaro could be the odd man out in the bullpen.

The Pirates are high on Snider, even though he’s done less than Tabata at the Major League level. Snider was horrible last year, but it looks like he has the inside track to get the bulk of the starting right field work until Gregory Polanco arrives. Some of his struggles last year could be due to an injured toe, which it seems the Pirates are banking on. This is another situation where Snider would have value if another team still thinks he has potential to turn things around and realize his upside. However, the Pirates appear to have that line of thinking already.

As for Mazzaro, I wrote the other day that a trade seems likely out of the bullpen, since there are eight players for seven spots. I also wrote that Mazzaro makes the most sense. Stolmy Pimentel and Bryan Morris have a lot of upside, and unlike Mazzaro, they’re still in their league minimum years with more team control. Jeanmar Gomez would be the other big candidate to go, but he seems to have the edge over Mazzaro, since he has had success as a starter for the Pirates. Mazzaro is a good reliever, so he should be easier to trade and get a good return, compared to Tabata and Snider.

Overall the Pirates could keep Tabata and Snider, so a trade isn’t necessary there. However, unless an injury occurs, they’ll need to make a trade out of the bullpen.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • PirateFanMan

    So let’s say for the sake of argument that the Pirates find a taker on either Tabata or Snider. The who o you see slotting up onto the bench? I could see the remaining player starting in rightfield with Lambo playing a G.I. Jones role playing first base and right field with possibly either McGuiness or Ishikawa on the bench, along with T. Sanchez, Barmes, Harrison and Lambo/Sanchez. What do you think?

    • Ron Loreski

      Decker or Dickerson deserve a shot in the OF before Lambo.

      • lonleylibertarian

        Because of a few spring training ABs? Lambo worked his butt off last year and performed well at AA and AAA. He has a very very rare commodity that they need to be sure he won’t eventually deliver for somebody else – see Joey Bats.

        Power is not out there right now in baseball – the rood era is over and a guy who might hit 30 HRs is worth a lot.

        Talk to me after he has had 50+ major league at bats.

        • Ron Loreski

          Lambo worked his butt off to make a transition to 1B. If he’s not hitting, he shouldn’t be looked at as an OF option when there are other guys who are hitting.

          And let’s not compare Lambo to Bautista just yet.

        • Timothy Wolfe

          No….not because of a few spring training at bats. Because of 30 where he had 2 hits. This isn’t 2-10, or 6-30. This is 2-30, against only partially major league pitching. Its not a good sign. I’ve watched a few spring games, and although he doesn’t look “clueless” as some people have stated, he doesn’t look good. Contending teams don’t have the luxury of “giving” people jobs who haven’t earned it. It doesn’t seem like he’s progressed at all since being called up last year, and you’d like to see a lot of progression over the off-season, not regression

          • lonleylibertarian

            You mean like giving the fifth starter job to the walkng walk machine?

            C’mon folks you can’t have it both ways – if Volquez “deserves” a chance to show what he can do in April then give Lambo the same shot.

            Early in spring training he was getting one or two at bats – 20 at bats over 10 games. He was not playing every day – and missed several opportunities to hit against RH pitching.

            The same applies to last fall – pinch hit mostly – did he ever have 2 at bats in a game?

            I just don’t see what you lose by giving him the job on opening day and letting him lose it on his own – you can then cut him and let him go play elsewhere if he is batting at or near the Mendoza Line on May 1.

            Everyione wants to go and get a Davis or Smoak or Moreland or even Carp – they will cost assets – why not wait and see if an asset they already own is worth as much or more than the alternatives.

            • stickyweb

              Agree 100% lonely.

            • John

              The only thing Davis,Smoak, Moreland or Carp come with is experience. There are no guarantees they are going to light anything up.

              • Y2JGQ2

                who is looking for anyone to light anything up? I think we’d all be happy with anything about a war zero player. what we don’t want, is a hitter hitting .200 with 100 k’s in 320 AB’s with 10 HR, and at this point, that’s what Lambo has looked like. We aren’t looking for a .280 25 HR hitter at this point, at least i’m not. I’m looking for the same numbers we’ve averaged with Garrett. I just don’t see anything here showing we have ANYONE on the team currently able to do even that. There is some value which comes with a higher likelihood of at least an average performance. For that reason I wouldn’t take Davis or Smoak either, but Moreland and Carp do have a higher bottom, and that’s really why i’d prefer them.

            • Y2JGQ2

              Volquez does NOT deserve a shot. I’ve been complaining about that signing since day 1 and offered a bet as to how long he’ll be on the team. He’s awful, he’s been consistently awful for most of his career. If we were going to give someone a shot, it should have been Daisuke Matsusaka, for basically zero money who has about the same stuff. Volquez is not an unknown quanitity, he sucks, we all know he sucks, but it won’t change that he’s going to be the starter

            • Y2JGQ2

              We also have a ton of expendable assets. Everyone can’t be on the 40 man roster, and rule 5 issues are going to become bigger and bigger with each passing year. The kid we lost this year hasn’t allowed a run in 8+ innings and hasn’t walked anyone either. We have pitching to give up, lets quit being misers, realize we can’t turn mud into gold, and trade some of our silver for another teams gold.

            • clementeninjamonk

              Volquez is only a few years removed from making the MLB ALL-STAR team, and we have in a place a team with a very reputable track record for pitching reclamation projects. Lambo, on the other hand, is a career minor leaguer with a checkered past, and the pirates haven’t yet shown the ability to work that same magic on stalling hitters. While I would still like to see Lambo get a bit more of a shot, I do not think the Lambo/volquez argument holds water.

            • N_Cap

              there not paying lAAAAmbo 5 mil like they are eddy

              • lonleylibertarian

                Sounds like Homer Simpson logic to me – how many starts do they give the $5 Million walk machine before they cut their loses.

                Signing this guy was stupid – I said it then – I said it before ST – I will continue to say it along with “I told you so” when they finally come to their senses and we look to the other end of the state and see that AJ is once again leading the league in strikeouts and is 6-3 in late May

                • N_Cap

                  AJ and Eddy have nothing to do with each other, not a chance would i have given AJ Burnett 1 year 16 mil plus an option for next year. Im not saying I agree with signing eddy either, but they are not going to just throw 5 mil away without getting innings out of him first

                  • lonleylibertarian

                    Bullshit – do what you should have done – you don’t have to give AJ the contract he got – all you had to do was make the Qualifying Offer. He accepts and plays for $14.1 Million or he signs elsewhere and the Bucs get a draft pick.

                    I do think that as someone else wrote they thought they could turn the $14M into Josh Johnson and James Lony – when that didn’t work they got desperate and tried to pull a Liriano II out of the hat – problem is they got Sanchez II

                    • N_Cap

                      They didnt want to put 14.1 mil into one player, especially a 37 year old who ran out of gas at the end of the year. Its not about getting a draft pick, you do not take a risk of that. Once again i do not believe eddy was a good signing.

                    • IQB

                      I love you. Amen

        • N_Cap

          if you combine his 31 at-bats from spring with his 30 from last year he is batting an awesome .147 that’s over 50

          • stickyweb

            He said 50 ML ABs, thus spring training doesn’t count. Also, I think he was kidding, as 50 ABs is still the definition of SSS, about 12 games.

            • N_Cap

              He plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Spring Training a major league team

            • N_Cap

              also to that point, how would he do better against major league

              • Y2JGQ2


            • Y2JGQ2

              Spring training is easier than regular season, so it should be counted in my opinion. If he can’t hit these pitchers, or the guys in the fall/winter leagues, he isn’t going to have success here. I’m not saying he doesn’t have the talent, i’m saying he isn’t ready. There isn’t one shred of evidence anyone has right now that shows he IS ready

              • N_Cap

                not to mention early in spring training pitcher are mainly pounding fastballs in the zone

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD

        Dickerson yes possibly, Decker an emphatic no….

        • Timothy Wolfe

          Why Decker as a no? Based on what exactly

          • BuccosFanStuckinMD

            He had been in the SD system for what – 4-5 years? And SD was not exactly loaded with OFers who could play. Plus, he hasn’t shown much this Spring, from what I’ve read. Looks like a singles hitter.

            • Y2JGQ2

              He’s an OBP guy, good speed, good plate discipline. What difference does it make how long he’s been in their system, he’s still only 24 years old, he wasn’t a college player. Look how long we take to get HS’ers to the big league team. What exactly has Dickerson done in his 8 years with 3 different teams? Comeon now

              • BuccosFanStuckinMD

                Sorry, he may be prove me wrong – but, I just do not see Decker as someone who will contribute much. I liked Alex Presley better. Yes, a lot of players spend 4-5 years in a system before making it – but he was a first round pick. If Austin Meadows is still playing AAA or AA in another 3-4 years, would you be disappointed?
                Dickerson has at least done some things at the MLB level – and he has been in places – Cincy, NYY, Baltimore, etc – that had loaded outfields with limited opportunities.

    • Monsoon Harvard

      Dickerson in the outfield, and I think they are going to get a first baseman in trade.

  • piratemike

    Pirates are going to have to eat a lot of that contract but if they can shop him it will probable be the best thing for Tabata to get a fresh start.
    I’d like to see them keep Snider as a 4th OF & insurance for Lambo.

    • Lee Young

      How is he insurance for Lambo? Snider is not a 1bman. McBeer and Ishi are insurance for Lambo

    • smurph

      Sorry I disagree, mike. As Tim stated, $4 million a year for an average parttime starter is not bad at all by today’s standards. He showed last season he can be a sufficient parttime starter. Pirates know more about it than I do, but Snider has never shown me any indication that he will ever be any help to this team. If they do keep Snider in 2014, I do believe this will be his last chance with the Pirates.

      • Andrew

        I was just writing the same thing, Tabata has performed at just under one WAR level average around 400 PAs, that is a asset not an albatross.

      • Timothy Wolfe

        Tabata and Snider are equal upside and downside players, mirror images of eachother with better speed from tabata and better power from snider that’s about it. Doesn’t matter which one you trade really. You deal whichever one can get you a better return

    • lonleylibertarian

      The contract is what will attract a lot of teams – control for potentially six years. He is 25 years old and if you look at his September/October split from last season he was as good as the great Marlon Byrd. Some team in need of an everyday Left Fielder who can bat leadoff could do worse than role the dice on Jose. The challenge will be to find a fit – the intangibles were not good a couple of years ago – not a lot of hustle and seemed to sulk a lot. But the last half of last year was different – maybe he grew up.

      • Y2JGQ2

        I agree, Tabata’s contract is team friendly for any team that believes in his talent. Yes, he could be lastings Milledge and I kinda think he is unfortunately, but he still has a chance to be…..oh who am I kidding. His base running is bad, his speed has faded to the point where he is a liability when trying to steal bases, he’s an awful outfielder with a fringe arm, and he has no power. He’s a 4th outfielder pretty much anywhere unfortunately

  • Born4rf

    I don’t see this as being a financial dump. If Snider has success this year he might out-earn Tabata in Arb. Seems like they are putting all of their spare parts on the table and trying to find a price that will fetch a lefty 1B. I notice they haven’t put Travis Ishikawa out there for the highest bidder ;D

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    I would keep Tabata, given his age, unrealized potential, and fact that he is a RH batter – assuming we need a short-term platoon in RF – with either Dickerson, Snider, or Lambo. Tabata is a useful player IMHO – he can hit, runs wells, and does not embarrass himself in the OF. A very good 4th outfielder. Unless someone offers equal value, I’d keep him. We should get more than an reserve catcher who can’t hit. If someone would offer us a pretty good prospect at a premium position – like C, SS, or 1B – where we are thin, I’d consider it. Otherwise, I would keep Tabata.

  • emjayinTN

    Wow, this is an absolute shock! Or, should it be – is this supposed to be a shock? Seattle is trying LoMo in RF and he looked pitiful, so why not just do Tabata and Mazzaro for Nick Franklin Ti/Li? Franklin is a switchhitter and can play any position in the infield, so we may even add JHa to the mix. Oh, SD has 2 quality 1B and they only need one, and that would not be Yonder Alonso – they like the other guy. One of the guys I like is Matt Skole, 3B/1B of Washington who has more power than Franklin, but a lot less glove. Wash needs a utility OF and a MLB quality LHRP. Just some food for thought, and I would keep Franklin on the 25 and teach him the fine art of 1B, and eventually work him in along with Gaby and back up for SS, 3B, and 2B. Alonso is gift-wrapped and ready-to-go, and Skole could be very valuable now and in the near Pedro-future.

    • Y2JGQ2

      make it happen emjay

  • Monsoon Harvard

    Dickerson has played the best of all the outfielders besides Cutch all spring. His fielding and tracking down hard to get-to balls has been impressive, along with his hitting. I’d rather have him out there than Tabata anyday.

    I could still see Lambo going back to AAA to prove he wasn’t a fluke last year, especially since he only spent less than half a season above AA ball.

    • Y2JGQ2

      I was at the game Friday and Dickerson looked awful in center field, dove for a ball he was nowhere near, luckily it bounced off of him. he then got up and overran the ball, turning a single into a double and an error. That being said, I personally have no trouble with dickerson being a 4th or 5th OF, we just have no need for one. Dickerson is playing well overall, but he isn’t outplaying Snider. If you remove Tabata from the equation, then Decker or Dickerson gets the nod, I really don’t think it matters which one, Dickerson is just older and Decker has more long term value/upside

    • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

      He doesn’t play center well, but with Marte on the roster that is not a big need. He seems like a very good defensive corner OF, Hurdle just LOVES him, and I see Snider’s name being floated as a way for Hurdle to get him on the 25 man. He wouldn’t look too bad as a #2 hitter IMO, until Polanco is ready. Although Snider looked real good when I saw him in a couple ST games, I have trouble believing he’s ever going to be something, and if he can fetch a LHH 1B (I don’t see how he can), I’m on board (depending on whom.)

  • Bonds Top Hand

    Tabata’s contract and years of control does have some value. Is he alone worth enough to get the Pirates what they are looking for in a trade partner? I doubt it, but if you then open up the conversation to Tabata and an bullpen arm, then you have a situation that could return you an MLB piece. And throwing Mazzaro out there might open up conversations that lead to Gomez or Morris and a possibly little better return. A couple teams seem like logical fits, just who feels they have the biggest need?

    • Bonds Top Hand

      Oakland seems like a solid partner. They have jaso listed as #3 on their C depth chart. And they lost 400 IP of solid starters to TJ surgery this spring. So if they stretch out a bullpen arm into a starter then one of our relief pitchers makes sense. And they could use a good 4th outfield upgrade.
      Detroit has Rajai but he is rough against RHP. And Tabata has hit RHP as well as LHP in his career. So that could work out well for both sides. They are also in need of relief pitching. Just not sure who they have that we would want on our club?
      Mariners have Smoak and Franklin. And their outfield mess is pretty obvious. This almost makes too much sense for both sides for one or the other from the M’s
      Yankees are shopping some of their catchers. A reunion between the two?
      There are a couple more that may make some sense. But these are off the top of my head. And would Ike Davis’ value have come down far enough that the Mets would entertain a trade now?

      • emjayinTN

        BTH: Excellent on all counts. Trader Jack in Seattle needs another SP short-term with losing two guys for about the first two weeks to a month. He would be a perfect partner, but he would definitely want both Gomez and Tabata for Nick Franklin, and I would hate to give that much, but I would make that trade in a heartbeat, and especially if he threw in LoMo. Franklin is a strong MI, and he could adapt to 1B quickly, and provide a solid backup for Alvarez if something goes wrong. I definitely like to trade with people who will not be shoving those players in our faces all season long. Smoak is definitely the 1B for Seattle.

        • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

          LOL if you think Gomez and Tabata is going to get you Nick Franklin, you’re dreaming.

      • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

        Jaso will be their DH vs. RHP- that trade’s not gonna happen.

  • Brian Bernard

    I see the mysterious injury coming into play more than a trade.

    • wkkortas

      Baseball really needs to take a page out of the NHL’s book and get on board with the lower-body injury.

  • krinks

    Houston or Florida should jump at all three. Their lineups are embarrassing.

  • csnumber23

    I assume they are trying to get a left handed hitting first baseman. That is needed for sure!

    • Y2JGQ2

      I hope so. I don’t know why we can’t trade some of our pitching prospects for a top ranked 1B or 3B prospect. If pitching is in such demand, and we have so much of it, why can’t we fill our needs with equal talent

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    And you would come to that conclusion based on what exactly??

    • Y2JGQ2

      I would agree with Pigskyn, we have one of the deepest bullpens in the majors. Everyone in our pen and 3 who wouldn’t make it would be good enough to be on most teams roster. Decker would be similar to Tabata and cheaper as well, and a much better injury history

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD

        I do not see any tangible evidence that would suggest that Decker could even remotely match Tabata’s production at the MLB level.

  • Teacher_in_Tejas

    Walker hasn’t caught since W was in office. I doubt we would want him in any regular season game behind the dish

  • pittsburgh412

    Didn’t see this posted anywhere but it looks like wyatt mathisen will be playing third base in west virgina

    • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

      That’s interesting, I hadn’t seen that. Do they say he’s giving up catching alltogether, or going to play SOME GAMES at 3B?

      He was a SS in HS, and only an occasional catcher from what I’ve heard.

    • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

      Ask and ye shall receive- new article just up about this!

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