Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ones that Got Away: Jose Tabata

In these segments I will detail former Yankee prospects who were traded and have since become successful players for other teams.  The first in this series will be Jose Tabata

Trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates: Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady

Background: Tabata was signed by the Yankees out of Venezuela in 2004.  By 2006 he had climbed to be ranked as the number 2 Yankee prospect by Baseball America behind Phil Hughes.  However by 2008 reports started to come out that he coasted off his talent and that he was lazy.  This is not a good stigma for a prospect to have.  Then came to big hit.  His wife, who was twice his age, was charged with child abduction of a two year old.  Although Jose stuck by his innocence this was not something the Yankees wanted to have to deal with in their system.  This to go along with the fact that he was hitting under .250 for the AA Trenton Thunder did not bode well for Tabata.  So in mid 2008 he was part of the trade shown above.

Since being trade:  After his trade in 2008, he turned on his game.  The remainder of the season he played for the Pirates AA team and hit almost .350.  In 2010, after playing the first 53 for Pittsburgh's AAA team and batting .308 he was called up to the major leagues.  In the 103 games that Tabata played in the majors in 2010 he hit .299 with 21 doubles, 19 SBs, 4 HRs, and 35 RBIs.  These statistics were good enough for him to place 8th in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.  In his 2011 campaign, he has had more limited success.  He is now hitting only .233 but continues to steal bases and is the starting left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Comments on Trade: So looking back on this trade, it seems the Yankees made a mistake in putting Tabata in this deal.  Although at the time some negative things had come out about him, they sold him low in that package for a mediocre outfielder who would only play limited time in his Yankee career due to injuries and a decent left handed reliever.  To get this they gave up an outfielder who is still only 22 and shows much promise plus other pitcher, one who I will detail in a later addition of "Ones that Got Away" in Ross Ohlendorf.

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