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.