Jose Tabata, who signed ‘team-friendly’ six-year, $15MM deal less than a year ago, optioned to Triple-A, Pirates announced.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@mlbtrben) July 3, 2012
That isn’t going to be good for business. Yet another example, like Cameron Maybin mentioned earlier today, that there is still significant risk in buying up the arbitration years of young players. As Ben of MLBTR notes, the Pirates option Tabata down to Triple-A Indianapolis less than one year after inking him to a deal that bought up both his arbitration and pre-arb years for the low, low price of $15 million dollars.
Jose Tabata played nearly every game in the Pirates outfield this season, splitting time between left and right. To his eternal credit, Tabata has been equally inept in each corner. Tabata is hardly a slugger but his numbers are down across the board in 2012, posting a meagre .230/.295/.341 slash line with one of the worst stolen base records you’ll see.
The question for me is a simple one: what do the Pirates legitimately expect from Tabata? He is a slap-hitting speedster wholly dependant on legging out singles and “putting pressure on the defense.” His approach at the plate leaves much to be desired but is the 2012 hard-luck version of Jose Tabata fundamentally different from “good” Jose Tabata?
Not walking as he should and suffering from a lagging BABIP is a deadly combination for a player who brings little else to the table. If anything, this is a significant move from the Pirates as a message of intent. Pittsburgh is not willing to keep running out a player taking more away than he puts on the table and took steps to address it.
Will the Pirates let Jose Tabata languish in the minors as they seek upgrades on the trade market? Here’s hoping! The world is an infinity better place when Andrew McCutchen plays on a big stage – if Jose Tabata must take some long bus rides in service of the cause, so be it.