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.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.