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.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.