Aug 21, 2011, 10:00 PM EDT
Signing bonus: $1 million
2013: $1 million
2014: $3 million
2015: $4 million
2016: $4.5 million
2017: $6.5 million club option
2018: $7.5 million club option
2019: $8.5 million club option
It’s technically a six-year contract, though since 2011 is included in the six years, it’s really a five-year deal. However, the Pirates will have themselves quite a bargain for the next eight years if Tabata follows a rather typical development curve. Tabata is guaranteed $14.75 million, which includes a $250,000 buyout if the 2017 option isn’t exercised. That 2017 season would have been his first year of free agency.
Even if Tabata turns out to be just an average regular, he certainly would have made more than $14.75 million through the end of hs arbitration years. And given that he just turned 23 earlier this month, he’s a ways away from what should be his prime years.
The Pirates have an ulterior motive here, too; by signing Tabata and hopefully Neil Walker as well in the near future, they’re trying to make themselves more attractive in extension talks with Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen, who will be eligible for arbitration after the 2012 season and for free agency after 2015, will cost considerably more to lock up, but the Pirates seem to be making every effort to get it done. While McCutchen might already be dreaming of Carl Crawford money when he does hit free agency, given how far away it is and how much could happen before then, he should consider taking the sure $50 million-$60 million, even though it will mean giving up a couple of seasons of free agency.
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