Jose Tabata goes unclaimed on waivers, stays with Pirates at Triple-A

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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.

Ronald Acuña Jr. reaches a rare home run milestone

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Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 40th home run in today’s 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. In so doing he become only the third player to hit 40 homers at age 21 or younger, joining Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Eddie Matthews, who hit 42 and 47, respectively, before turning 22. Ott was only 20 in fact.

Home run marks are a dime a dozen this year, of course, so maybe you want to discount Acuña’s accomplishment. Even if you do, though, you can’t discount his wheels. He didn’t have a stolen base this afternoon but he does have 37 on the year and has over a week to swipe three more. If he does he’ll become a member of the exclusive 40/40 club. It’s only current members: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano.

The Braves win clinches at least a tie for the NL East title. They’ll clinch the division outright if either they win or the Nationals lose tomorrow.