Pirates “shopping” outfielder Jose Tabata

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The Pirates are “shopping” outfielder Jose Tabata, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Tabata is slated to see regular action in right field, but with top prospect Gregory Polanco waiting in the wings (and playing right field) at Triple-A his time as a starter in Pittsburgh could only be a few more months.

Tabata is just still 25 years old and has been a decent all-around player for the Pirates, including hitting .282 with six homers and a .771 OPS in 106 games last season. However, he’s yet to develop any further since signing a long-term contract extension and no longer looks capable of being a building block type of player.

With three years and $12 million remaining on his contract–plus relatively reasonable team options for 2017, 2018, and 2019–Tabata could draw some trade interest from teams looking to cheaply fill a corner outfield spot. Or the Pirates could wait to see if he gets off to a good start while Polanco plays at Triple-A and try to cash in Tabata for a better return in May or June.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.