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Report: Pirates to sign Tabata to six-year deal

Posted on: August 19, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 9:26 pm

By Evan Brunell

The Pirates are following on the heels of teams such as the Rockies and Rays of recent years in locking up their young players to long-term deals despite these players being a ways away from arbitration, never mind free agency.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the Pirates have agreed to a six-year deal with outfielder Jose Tabata and are deep in discussions with second basemen Neil Walker. Tabata only debuted last June, but has quickly integrated himself into the fabric of the team, hitting a cumulative .285/.348/.385 over 747 plate appearances the past two seasons, swiping 33 bags. Tabata, who turned 23 on Aug. 12 and was acquired from the Yankees in a 2008 trade, doesn't have much power but has hit exclusively at the top of the order for Pittsburgh and should remain there over the life of his new six-year, deal, which kicks in immediately and guarantees his deal through 2016. That means Tabata isn't signing away a guaranteed year of free agency, but did  agree to three successive club options. In that vein, it's very similar to the four-year deal James Shields inked with the Rays for the 2008 season that has three club options built into the contract.

Don't expect a significant figure to be attached to Tabata's deal, even if it's for six seasons. That's because Tabata is giving up the chance to earn significant money through arbitration in exchange for cost-certainty. Instead of taking the risk of being worth a $10 million deal in the final year of arbitration in 2016, Tabata will take guaranteed money that he will receive regardless of injury or attrition. As an idea of what Tabata could receive on the free-agent market, first note that the first two years of the deal will be close to the league minimum -- a total number of $1 million over the next two years sounds right. For purposes of arbitration, let's use Michael Bourn, who is a close-enough approximate of Tabata. Bourn played for $2.4 million in his first year of arbitration and is now currently on a $4.4 million deal. He figures to make around $7 million in 2012, his final season before free agency. That gives a total price of $13.8 million. Add in the first two years of Tabata's deal, and now you have a framework for what Tabata will sign. So let's say six years and $15 million.

(Update: Tabata will earn $14.25 million over the life of the contract, as reports, saying Tabata's deal increases his 2011 salary to $500,000, plus a $1 million signing bonus. Next season, Tabata will earn $750,000, and then jump to $1 million in 2013, $3 million in 2014, $4 million in 2015 and $4.5 million in 2016. The club options can total up to $37.25 million. ESPN Deportes also noted that Tabata and his agency, ACES Inc., parted ways due to contract negotiations.

"There were philosophical differences over some aspects of the contract, but there's still a lot of respect," a source said of the parting. "In the best interest of both, the parties decided to separate, without ruling out the possibility of working together again."

The Pirates are hoping to lock up Neil Walker to a similar deal that Tabata will be playing under. While a final agreement is not near, the two sites have had advanced talks, team and league sources told the Tribune-Review.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, talks stalled with center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who is already one of the best center fielders in the game and would certainly charge a higher price to sign a long-term deal. While it's not known how much McCutchen is asking for, it's possible he won't be as willing to trade future earnings for cost-certainty, or that the Pirates feel a long-term deal at a higher cost is beneficial.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 3:18 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 9:57 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:46 am

Report: Pirates to sign Tabata to six-year deal

Preserve the wonderful function, Is fantastic article wri ting.

Since: Jun 16, 2011
Posted on: August 19, 2011 8:42 pm

Report: Pirates to sign Tabata to six-year deal

Great move for the Bucs!  This kid is awesome.  Walker deserves the same.  They gotta start locking up these guys if they plan on building a contending team for the first time in 30 years.  

Since: May 7, 2010
Posted on: August 19, 2011 6:54 pm

Report: Pirates to sign Tabata to six-year deal

Excellent news!  I look forward to signing more of the current guys, and seeing more of the guys in the minors come up in a few weeks. Go Young Bucs!

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: August 19, 2011 6:26 pm

Report: Pirates to sign Tabata to six-year deal

Good signing..the only wat the Pirates can builda winning team.

Since: Aug 4, 2011
Posted on: August 19, 2011 6:23 pm

Report: Pirates to sign Tabata to six-year deal

about time the pirates are doing something for there young guys

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