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.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.