The Pirates were hopeful that Jose Tabata would be able to play again this season after being diagnosed with a small fracture in his right hand earlier this month, but Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports they have decided to shut him down.
Tabata originally felt pain in his wrist back on August 24. When he was diagnosed with the fracture on August 6, the plan was for him to reevaluated after 10 days. He hadn’t swung a bat as of Tuesday, so with the Pirates out of the race, there was little to be gained by rushing him back.
Limited to just 91 games this season, Tabata batted .266/.349/.362 with four home runs, 21 RBI, 16 stolen bases and a .711 OPS over 382 plate appearances. The 23-year-old outfielder agreed to a contract extension in August which could keep him with the Pirates through 2019.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.