Reunited? Yankees Should Think About Acquiring Jose Tabata
By Matt Mirro
While the Yankees search to get younger it’s likely they’ll wave goodbye to their 40-year old reserve outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. That means that they are in need of new blood to take over that roll. It seems a new option has popped up in the form of a familiar face.
That would be Jose Tabata, the former Yankees prospect who was recently designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yankees signed Tabata out of Venezuela back in 2005 when he was just 17. By 2008 he had risen through the minors to claim the second overall rank in the Yankees farm system.
New York traded the young Tabata to the Pirates along with Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen in exchange for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. While Tabata has never risen to the level of greatness that some saw him achieving one day he’s still a more than serviceable outfielder and now that his future is up in the air it may be time for a family reunion.
In 2010 Tabata made his major league debut, playing 102 games while batting .299 with 4 home runs and 35 RBI. His production dropped considerably the next season and he continued to struggle with inconsistency until finally falling out of favor with the Pittsburgh front office.
Still only 26 years old, Tabata would fit well with the current Yankees club which is attempting to infuse youth into the veteran roster. Tabata can play all outfield positions and that would be useful given the uncertainties surrounding Carlos Beltran in right field and would be a productive bat and glove to plug in if Brett Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury need to sit for a day.
What will Tabata cost? Well there is a chance the Pirates just flat out release him in which case the Yankees would just have to sign him to a deal and that likely wouldn’t cost much given his recent struggles. Via trade he wouldn’t cost the Yankees much either, probably nothing more than a low to mid level prospect an/or cash considerations.
Tabata is young, a very good defender and an above average hitter. Bringing him back to the Bronx as a reserve outfielder would be a good thing for both him and the Yankees. He’d be a very nice piece to a Yankees team in the middle of an interesting transition period. Replacing an old, worn out and over the hill, Ichiro gives the Bombers a more well rounded and formidable attack. It’ll be interesting to see if the Yankees decide to reunite with their old friend.