Pirates finalize Jose Tabata’s six-year contract

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23-year-old Jose Tabata is under control through 2019 after officially signing a long-term extension with the Pirates on Sunday.  MLB.com’s Jennifer Langosch has the dollar amounts:

Signing bonus: $1 million
2011: $500,000
2012: $750,000
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.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.