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Pirates “shopping” outfielder Jose Tabata

Mar 18, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

Jose Tabata Getty Getty Images

The Pirates are “shopping” outfielder Jose Tabata, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Tabata is slated to see regular action in right field, but with top prospect Gregory Polanco waiting in the wings (and playing right field) at Triple-A his time as a starter in Pittsburgh could only be a few more months.

Tabata is just still 25 years old and has been a decent all-around player for the Pirates, including hitting .282 with six homers and a .771 OPS in 106 games last season. However, he’s yet to develop any further since signing a long-term contract extension and no longer looks capable of being a building block type of player.

With three years and $12 million remaining on his contract–plus relatively reasonable team options for 2017, 2018, and 2019–Tabata could draw some trade interest from teams looking to cheaply fill a corner outfield spot. Or the Pirates could wait to see if he gets off to a good start while Polanco plays at Triple-A and try to cash in Tabata for a better return in May or June.

  1. apkyletexas - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    I doubt they trade him this year. Pirates GM Neal Huntington made a specific point of saying that Polanco would not be coming up to the majors until he had a few months of seasoning under his belt at Triple-A Indianapolis. He felt that bringing Polanco up too early could significantly hamper his long-term development. They are trying to develop him the same way they developed McCutchen, and see him as a guy who could hold down right field for many years to come.

    Until Polanco arrives, Tabata is our best right fielder, especially after having lost Marlon Byrd to free agency. Even after Polanco arrives, Tabata is a very good backup at all three outfield positions. Considering how many injuries the Pirates experienced in the outfield last year, including Marte missing a couple of months, Tabata could be very valuable to hang onto until the end of the year.

    • paperlions - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      More than that, bringing him up early risks him being a super 2 and the Pirates losing a year of control.

      Tabata is a fine backup, you are right about that.

    • dan1111 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:39 AM

      I don’t think this is about needing to unload Tabata; it is about maximizing his value. If other teams see him as a starter, the Pirates can probably get more by trading him than by using him as a backup outfielder.

  2. gdobs227 - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    The Pirates looking to trade Tabata? That’s a yinzer wet dream come true.

    • apkyletexas - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      In 2011-2012 you would have been right. For 2013, he was probably the most valuable bench player we had, and a big reason we made it into the playoffs.

      • gdobs227 - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        I like Tabata. However, your typical yinzer* cannot say “Jose Tabata” without following it up with “lazy bum.”

        *You might have to be from Pittsburgh to understand yinzer mentality.

      • apkyletexas - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        I’m from the area, and trust me, I was pulling my hair out about the guy for 2-3 years. But mid-season last year he turned in an exceptional performance for the final 3 months, especially when we needed him most because Marte had gone down. There were several key games during the late September playoff push where he had a game-winning RBI or key hit that helped put the Pirates up over the Reds for the first wildcard spot. I was real pleased with him by the end of last year.

        That’s not to say he won’t revert to form this next year. But, if he keeps playing like he did, he’s worth $4 million.

  3. penguins87and71 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Why would they be shopping Tabata? I actually like Jose Tabata, I think his a pretty decent 4th outfielder, I also heard they are shopping Snider as well. I personally wouldn’t bring up Polanco until late June early July, because of super two status. It makes no sense for the Pirates to trade them now, they will have no one to play RF.

  4. number42is1 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Perfect,,, I think that the Yanks could use another outfielder…

  5. Ben - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Now if only the Tigers had someone like Doug Fister available..

  6. genericcommenter - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Funny that he’s a 4th OFer with the Pirates, when people were recently saying (probably today, even) the Yankees missed out by trading him away.

    • paperlions - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      Why would anyone say that? He’s a 4th OF, period. He’s a league average hitter that plays average defense in high offense position.

      Over the last 3 years, his 102 wRC+ ranks 33rd out of 40 RFers, his defense ranks 24th out of that group, and his fWAR ranks 37th. No one that wants to win games is “missing” that kind of player.

  7. musketmaniac - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    I am a Tabata fan, and a fan of that contract. Move Snyder, the yanks can be suckered one more time.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      no thanks you can keep Synder who is a strikeout waiting to happen with little to no power. Another great bluejay prospect of the past

    • dirtyharry1971 - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      keep tabata too while you are at it, if that’s getting suckered I hope the Yanks get suckered a few more times like that. The left handed reliever we got in that Tabata trade was key in bringing home the Title in “09 just ask Ryan Whiff Howard about that

  8. musketmaniac - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    apky is correct, other facts like his age 25? and his extreme team friendly contract. A very good arm for right field, and his ability to play all three outfield position. But the biggest factor is our N.l. MVP. Cutch loves this guy loves playing with him.

  9. thepittsburghkid - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    Yeah, this city doesn’t understand baseball. Tabata is a fantastic 4th option. He definitely has struggled due to injuries but I still feel he can be the .300 hitter he’s capable of being. I also think he would add some pop if someone would work on his swing.

  10. musketmaniac - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    One thing I don’t get is the stigma that all right fielders have to hit a ton with power. That really does not apply with this team. with our cf hitting third and Marte not a traditional leadoff hitter despite his speed. with Presley going, and Mercer being the only other option. If he gets hurt or struggles Barmes is not an option. Tabata is a bigger key than people think.

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