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.

Tom Ricketts says the Cubs don’t have any more money

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Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.

First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.

More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:

The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.