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Jose Tabata goes unclaimed on waivers, stays with Pirates at Triple-A

Jun 24, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

To make room for second baseman Neil Walker‘s return from the disabled list the Pirates designated for assignment outfielder Jose Tabata, who was once a top prospect acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte in 2008.

Tabata never developed much power and so his bat has proven mediocre for an outfielder corner, but back when he still had some promise the Pirates signed him to a $15 million contract extension. That deal includes a $3 million salary this season, plus $4 million in 2015 and $4.5 million in 2016, which explains why he passed through waivers unclaimed.

It also explains why Tabata accepted an assignment to Triple-A rather than forfeiting the money to become a free agent. Tabata is still just 25 years old and hasn’t been a total bust, hitting .275 with a .717 OPS in 464 games, so it won’t be surprising if he’s back in Pittsburgh relatively soon. In the meantime he’s no longer on the 40-man roster.

  1. musketmaniac - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Tabata will be back by the end of the month. He doesn’t have the power but he does everything else.

  2. timmmah10 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    I think this puts to rest all of the Pitt fans claims that they should get value by trading this guy. He’s a nice 4th outfielder, nothing less, nothing more.

  3. gbrim - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Aren’t contracts like this guaranteed, regardless of whether the player accepts an assignment to the minors, or does he not have enough time in place to refuse the assignment?

    • gdobs227 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      That’s what I thought too. I don’t think anyone truly understands baseball’s rules though.

      Also, how in the world did news of the DFA not get out until now?

    • socalduck - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Here’s the best explanation from, of all sources, Wikipedia.

      “Typically a player is placed on waivers after being designated for assignment for the purpose of outrighting him to one of the club’s minor league teams. A player who is outrighted to the triple A is removed from the 40-man roster but is still paid according to the terms of his guaranteed contract. A player can only be outrighted once in his career without his consent. However, a player must clear waivers (that is, no other team may place a waiver claim on the player) to be sent to a minor league team. Also, if the player has five or more full years of major league service, he must give consent to be assigned to the minors. If the player withholds consent, the team must either release him or keep him on the major league roster. In either case, the player must continue to be paid under the terms of his contract.”

      Hope that helps.

  4. musketmaniac - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    I think the Pirates were extremely confident that he’d clear.

  5. genericcommenter - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    I remember when all these people were saying he was so much better than Granderson and how much the Yankees got hosed.

    • Reflex - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      Then you remember wrong. The players the Yankees acquired put up a total of 0.6 bWAR for them, the guys they gave up have so far put up 9.3 bWAR (and still rising). Obviously Marte wasn’t as good as Granderson or anything, but he was still worth far more than they gained in return for him. They certainly gave up significantly more talent than they got in return.

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