Pirates Extend Jose Tabata for Six Years

According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN, the Pittsburgh Pirates have extended outfielder Jose Tabata for six years and at least $14.75 M guaranteed.  The team also has option years for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons, which would make the contract a total of nine years and $37.25 M.  Tabata would have normally been a free agent in 2017, so this deal buys three years of control.

The salary breakdown is as follows:

2011: $500,000 ($1 M signing bonus)

2012: $750,000

2013: $1,000,000

2014: $3,000,000

2015: $4,000,000

2016: $4,500,000

No word on the amounts for the 2017-2019 years, except that they would cost $22.5 M if the options were all picked up.  Tabata was originally making $428,000 this year, so the contract gives him a slight raise, plus a $1 M signing bonus.

The extension means that Tabata is currently under team control longer than any other player on the active roster.

UPDATE: Rojas also reports that there are $250 K buyouts on each of the option years, making the total guaranteed money $15 M from 2012-2016.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Lee Young

Let’s hope this doesn’t become an albatross.

However, he does show lots of promise.


Alfonso Soriano’s contract is an albatross and we know how that’s working out for Jim Hendry & the Cubs. Tabata’s deal is a steal!

Lee Young

derek………good point!


Great deal for the Pirates, we only need 3 WAR over 6 years (including this year) to break even without even considering inflation.

Neal Huntington owns everybody.


Like this alot.  Not get Walker and Cutch tied up.


No, this is an absolute steal. If Tabata is anywhere near the age he claims to be then he has the potential to become wildly more valuable than he already is, and he isn’t bad as it stands. The guaranteed dollars are easily affordable and the team options could be downright lopsided in the Pirates favor if he steps his game up to the next level by that time, which will be his prime. Think of it this way: the Pirates are considering picking up Paul Maholm’s $9.75MM option next year as an inconsistent, middle-of-the-pack starter. Even if Tabata doesn’t add power (though he very well may) his options average out to $7.5 MM a year, and by 2017-19 those dollars will be able to get you even less on the free agent market than they can right now. With the information available right now this is a very smart move by the Pirates, no matter how it actually turns out.

Jimmy Cali

Mixed emotions about this.   I’m still not sold on Tabata being an everyday player on a good team.

John DiVito

I’m not concerned… the Pirates know that Tabata has serious talent… the guy is the youngest everyday starter on the team.  I like this because it really doesn’t tie us into anything terrible.  There are plenty of MLB teams that are spending $3-5 mil a year on reserve outfielders, let alone starters.  If he never gets any better, he is still a pretty good option.

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