According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pittsburgh Pirates are shopping right fielder Jose Tabata. Along with Tabata, the Pirates are also listening to offers for fellow right fielder Travis Snider and right-handed reliever Vin Mazzaro.
Some of this news is very surprising, while some of it isn’t. The news that Tabata is on the trade block is shocking. The Pirates have made it clear that top prospect Gregory Polanco probably won’t make the team out of Spring Training, so it is a confusing situation. Personally, I doubt that Snider or Tabata are dealt before the Pirates promote Polanco. These trade talks may just be exploratory as the team prepares to trade the two right fielders later in the season.
The news that Mazzaro could be on the move is far from surprising. Only four relievers have positions locked up in the bullpen so far for the Bucs — Jason Grilli, Mark Melancon, Justin Wilson and Tony Watson. This leaves four relievers battling for three bullpen spots — Stolmy Pimentel, Mazzaro, Jeanmar Gomez and Bryan Morris.
It was known for much of the offseason that the Pirates would eventually trade a reliever, and Mazzaro has been the most obvious candidate to be moved. None of these pitchers have minor league options, so one of them simply has to be moved before Opening Day, or the Pirates will be forced to designate one for assignment.
The Pirates have holes at first base and backup catcher right now, so maybe Tabata, Snider and/or Mazzaro can be packaged together to bring in an upgrade at a position of need. It will be interesting to see what develops over the next few weeks as the team looks to make a move or two.