Just week since he helped the Pirates avoid getting perfect-gamed by Max Scherzer and the Nationals, outfielder Jose Tabata has been designated for assignment, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. It sounds like pitcher Chris Volstad is on his way out as well, while Steve Lombardozzi and Gorkys Hernandez are coming up from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Tabata, 26, hit .289/.341/.289 with four RBI in 41 plate appearances for the Pirates this season. Once a top prospect in the Yankees’ system, Tabata has yet to match expectations. He joined the Pirates in July 2008 along with Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, and Daniel McCutchen when the Pirates sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Bronx in a trade.
Though Tabata has utility and is only 26, he’s unlikely to be claimed on waivers as he’s owed the remainder of his $4.167 million salary plus $4.5 million next season and a $250,000 buyout for any of the 2017-19 seasons.
Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata has spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Indianapolis and has done a decent job thus far, batting .338/.416/.397. And though the Pirates could use another outfielder capable of contributing on offense, it doesn’t sound like they’re considering calling him up anytime soon.
In fact, according to Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, GM Neal Huntington sounds like he’d prefer to find a trade partner for Tabata:
“We were aggressive with [Tabata] in what we believe he needed to do to in order to get back to the big leagues,” Huntington said. “And he is working hard to make that adjustment and as important, he is playing hard and showing up every at bat.
“We have been very open with Jose that while we hope his return to the big leagues with us, he is a guy who may need to get somebody else’s attention and have somebody come get him. If that happens we will be happy for him.”
Tabata was once a well-regarded prospect, both before and after coming to Pittsburgh in the Xavier Nady trade with the Yankees in July 2008. However, in 1,724 career major league plate appearances, he has posted an OPS just below the league average after adjusting for league and park effects, and has compiled only 2.1 total Wins Above Replacement over parts of five seasons, according to Baseball Reference. Average players, despite the description, do have value and are tough to come by, but Tabata has not met the lofty expectations set when he came up through the Yankees’ system.
The Pirates have designated outfielder Jose Tabata for assignment, Bill Brinks of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, citing MLB.com’s transactions page. Earlier, the Pirates acquired reliever Preston Guilmet from the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations. Ostensibly, the two moves are related.
Tabata, 26, had a disappointing season after breaking out in 2013 for the Pirates which seemed to justify the six-year, $15 million extension he signed with the Pirates in August 2011. In 186 plate appearances this season, he hit just .282/.314/.333 with no home runs and 17 RBI. He was outrighted and later demoted to Triple-A Indianapolis towards the end of June but he didn’t post any better results. Tabata returned to the Pirates in late August and made only a handful of starts before being resigned to the bench. He played in the Pirates’ loss to the Giants in the NL Wild Card game, going hitless with a strikeout in two at-bats.
Tabata was once a heralded top prospect in the Yankees’ system. He was traded to the Pirates near the trade deadline in 2008 along with Daniel McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jeff Karstens in the trade that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees.