Outfielder Jose Tabata was once a highly regarded prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system, but could now be out of a job. Andrew McCutchen is a lock in center field for years to come and Starling Marte has potential to be at the same level as McCutchen. The Pirates also have Travis Snider, acquired at the trade deadline last season from the Toronto Blue Jays and is projected to start in right field.
This will most likely leave Tabata as the fourth outfielder; this would not be the best use for a talented young player like Tabata. He has spent 3 seasons with the Pirates and has a batting avg. of .271, with 11 home runs in his brief career.
Tabata has shown that he is a good contact hitter, but he has not developed any kind of power yet. Tabata has also been a solid defender in left field, saving 9 runs over 3 years of MLB experience.
Tabata put up very good numbers in 2010, his rookie season, posting a line of .299/.346/.400, leading to him finishing 8th in NL Rookie of the Year voting. It is hard to follow an incredible debut season like that; Tabata has been trying to play under the pressure of very high expectations over the last two seasons, something that could be helped by a change of scenery.
At 24, Tabata is under contract through the 2016 season with a team options for 2017-19. A player under that much team control has substantial value on the trade market.
There have not been any rumors surrounding Tabata at this point, but if he does win a job out of camp GM Neal Huntington should seriously consider making Tabata available.