The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated Jose Tabata for assignment, according to the MLB.com transactions page (h/t MLBTR). Tabata was outrighted earlier this season, after going unclaimed on waivers. The outfielder is unlikely to be claimed this time around, since the same conditions exist as last time. He’s got a horrible contract, with over $9 M due to him over the next two seasons. He will likely clear waivers, and be outrighted to Triple-A again. There, he will likely take the outright assignment, rather than refusing, becoming a free agent, and turning down the remainder of his deal. It would be a surprise if another team took his salary this time around.

Overall this was a move to clear a 40-man spot, coming on the heels of the trade to add Preston Guilmet from the Baltimore Orioles.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. I guess tabata’s contract assures us a slightly above replacement OF that can be kept off the 40 until needed. Lol.. I wonder how much of the 9m Huntington would be willing to eat in order to move him.. though, it would be nuttings money, neal’s decision on value.. I would like to see him get an opportunity to develop. He’s still fairly young isn’t he?

    • Tabata’s fairly young depending on which birth certificate you read. I haven’t been sold on him since he came up. Singles and steals were all he was good for and now not so much. I know Pedro is probably going to get every opportunity at first, but I’m not so sure they wouldn’t be better off with giving that opportunity to Snider or Lambo. Clear the books of Pedro, Gaby, Davis, and Stewart and put that money in the resign Russell fund!

        • I could care less about year four of Martin’s contract. You do what every other club does, sign the guy and worry about it later. You can always trade him in four years. That is why we get guys like Burnett. When you have a good player, you sign him and worry about the later years down the road.

          If Martin is even decent in year four, they will be able to trade him and maybe eat some of his salary in the deal. That is what every other team does. Plus, its not my money and I am a fan. I want them to do what is best to compete. When they send me free tickets or money, I will worry about their finances.

          • The Pittsburgh Pirates organization isnt like “every other” organization. And I think the looking ahead approach has done very well for Neal Huntington and company.

      • Stewart is looking pretty good. Why are you in a hurry to get rid of him? If Martin doesn’t sign, Stewart might have to be your primary catcher next season.

  2. Ok, a comment and question.

    I am like others in that it seems like ancient history that the Pirates were able to sign Tabata to what seemed like a very team friendly long term contract. He did do a nice job from time to time helping the Pirates return to winning records.

    Now the question. Are the Pirates making this move now hoping that someone will be willing to take the contract off of our hands?

    Ok maybe another question…. How are we sure that Polanco could not become the next Tabata?

    • Well for one, Polanco has power. But if your question is “how can we be sure Polanco won’t underwhelm”, the answer is, we don’t. St. Louis has the same issue with Oscar Taveras. Life is like a box of chocolates. Sometimes you get Mike Trout (delicious!), sometimes you get Bryce Harper (meh), sometimes you get Billy Beane (ugh, ptui, ack!).

      • Bryce Harper is meh? I mean, he isnt the world beater the media hyped him up to be, but a plus speed decent defense 21 year old with a .270 avg and 115+ wRC+ ill take all day.

        • I think Harper has an upside you’d like to gamble on, but:

          2014 stats:

          Player A:
          PA: 359, R: 37, HR: 13, RBI: 38, SB: 1, OPS: .776, WAR: 2.1

          Player B:
          PA: 395, R: 41, HR: 13, RBI: 32, SB: 2, OPS: .768, WAR: 1.0

          Of course, one of these two guys is Harper…the other is Travis Snider.

    • The Pirates would be delighted if someone claimed Tabata, because Lambo, Snyder and Rojas provide adequate 4th/5th outfielders behind Marte/Cutch/Polanco at much lower cost and Harrison could always fill in if needed. Tabata is unneeded and expensive for the role he can fill on the Pirates.

      So far Polanco is faster, doesn’t seem to be injury prone, seems to have a consistently better attitude and, as far as I know, hasn’t had the off-field misjudgments and baggage that Tabata has had. Whether he can adjust to MLB pitching and become an .800+ OPS hitter from the .600 to .700 range that he is presently at remains to be seen. I expect that he will eventually. But it might be smarter to start next season with Snyder/Lambo in RF, giving Polanco an additional half season of more in AAA.

      • Thank you everyone for the responses. That is why I like this site so much. Some real quality responses to questions I have as an old, but not very knowledgeable Pirate fan.

        • I am only guessing, but they might if there was return that was a better fit with the MLB roster. But what value does Lambo really represent? He is unproven in MLB. His AAA record last year would indicate he is ready to make the transition, but there is still a significant step between AAA and MLB that many players can’t manage. So Lambo is a risk to trade for right now, and might not warrant much return to the Pirates. They may be better served to have a mix of Snyder/Polanco/Lambo fight it out in Spring training, while also giving Lambo some time at 1B (though Pedro should be the heir apparent there in my opinion).

  3. We wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Tabata’s scrappy play when Marte went down last season. I’ve considered the remainder of his contract a sunk cost since then – part of the price Nutting needed to pay to field a professional team with adequate depth.

      • He has a point, he has put up great average numbers but has no power I guess making contact isn’t good enough shows you what baseball has became over the last couple of years.

        • Great average numbers?? Are you kidding me? Tabata does nothing to help the team. I was hoping we would not have to see him again last time he was DFA and I am again hoping we don’t have to see him again.

      • I’m not bashing Nutting – I was referring to the concept of a sunk cost with respect to Tabata’s remaining contract. My point is that anyone complaining about Tabata’s next $9 million at this point is wasting their time, because the money was already accounted for in prior accounting periods. And, he’s already returned at least one dividend for which any Pirates’ owner would gladly have paid – helping to achieve the first playoff season in 20 years. In fact, the value of the Pirates franchise has doubtlessly increased far beyond Tabata’s entire contract amount simply by making the playoffs for 2 straight years.

        I don’t have a personal beef with Nutting over this contract. The term “Nutting” here simply refers to “he who writes the checks” – whether that be Nutting himself, or some entity called “Pirates Baseball Inc.”, or whatever.

        But I do appreciate the “grow up” sentiment – makes me feel younger.

    • I don’t disagree. At that point in time Tabata looked like pretty good player, it was a viewed as a very team-friendly contract (with many calling both Tabata and his agent morons) and resulted in some of the first decent PR the Bucs had in a long time.

        • His agent should have been proud of that contract. Tabata was the perfect case of just about everyone way overvaluing him, including his agent. Even in the minors, he never had power. He does not have adequate speed or range to be a center fielder. He is a .280 corner adequate fielder with no power. Its not that he is “bad”, there are teams that can use a guy like that as a fourth OF or as a solid bench guy.

          But he was never a guy you “lock up” for millions of dollars. Even when he came up, I had no idea why he was so hyped. Even after he hit .290, I had no idea why they gave him that contract. He was “high” on the Yankees list of prospects when we got him, but their farm system sucked back then. They buy players, they do not develop them.

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