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Report: Jose Tabata and Pirates agree to six-year contract

Aug 19, 2011, 3:15 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Pirates are close to signing outfielder Jose Tabata to a six-year contract.

Tabata, who just returned from the disabled list Tuesday after missing six weeks with a quadriceps injury, won’t be arbitration eligible for the first time until 2014. Presumably the six-year deal would include a team option for at least his first season of free agency in 2017.

Even then it’s an odd move for the Pirates given that Tabata is under their control through 2016 already and hasn’t exactly established himself as a long-term building block yet, hitting .285 with a .348 on-base percentage and .385 slugging percentage in 175 career games.

I’m all for locking up young players long term and he’s been a valuable player who certainly projects to improve further at age 22, but committing six years worth of upfront money to someone who’s yet to prove he’s more than a solid regular seems like an unnecessary risk. According to Rojas previous negotiations breaking down led to Tabata firing his agent, but his new representation have made more progress in talks.

UPDATE: Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review says the Tabata deal would cover six seasons and also include three team options for his free agent years, which makes it somewhat easier to understand the Pirates’ motivation.

UPDATE II: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes now reports that the deal is done. Tabata is signed through 2016 and guaranteed $14.75 over the life of the contract. The Pirates hold options from 2017-19 that could bring the total value of the deal to $37.25 million.

  1. natstowngreg - Aug 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    The Pirates, locking up young talent?

    Perhaps (blatant ripoff of Bob Dylan follows) the times, they are a-changing.

  2. johninpa - Aug 19, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    After losing countless good, young players, the Pirates ownership may be starting to understand how to run the team. For how long have we been the recruiting stop for the rest of the major league?

  3. tuftsb - Aug 19, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    and if he plays poorly and doesn;t get a big free agent deal in 2017 or so, his wife will probably be eligible for social security payments.

  4. kast2l - Aug 19, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    I like Tabata and i like the move.

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