Most Pirates fans would agree that Jose Tabata has not lived up to his potential. Jose had a successful rookie campaign in 2010 where he hit .300 with a great obp of .346. He accumulated 1.9 WAR in just 450 at bats. Things were looking up as the Pirates looked to have another young outfielder to go along with Andrew Mccutchen. Seeing this potential the Pirate front office locked up Tabata to a team friendly 6 year deal.
The rookie season has proven to be mostly a mirage. Jose has been unable to recapture is rookie season success. Since 2011 he has had trouble staying on the field and has been in manager Clint Hurdle's dog house several times for lack of effort. Jose did not reach 400 at bats in both 2011 and 2012. Losing playing time to the likes of Travis Snider and Garrett Jones the past few seasons and the emergence of Starling Marte has put Tabata's Pirate future in question.
In 2013 Jose was able to rebound to a certain extent. After Starling Marte got hurt in the second half of the season he was able to recapture some of his rookie season magic. He accumulated 1.1 war mainly in just the second half of the season. He played a key part in the Pirates playoff run during the dog days of summer.
So what does 2014 have in store for Jose Tabata? Most project him to be slotted in as the opening day right fielder, but it seems to be temporary. Top prospect Gregory Polanco will start the season in AAA and could be ready by mid season. It seems that Jose's best bet for future playing time would be playing well enough to make himself attractive to other teams. With a team friendly contract and still being only 25 years old, Jose can still be very valuable.
My own personal belief is that Tabata will be moved at some point over the next year. Most projections already have Polcano as a + defender and better base runner than Tabata. While Tabata is a nice insurance policy if one of the everyday guys get hurt like Marte did last year, his time will be coming to an end as a Pirate. Some other team will see a young cost controlled outfielder and make a nice match for the Pirates to fill a need either before the deadline or during next offseason.
This is a wood 1/1 from 2011 Topps Triple Threads. This was an Ebay purchase several years a go as I went and purchased many high end Tabata cards when he was struggling in 2011.