Surprise! Tabata might be older than expected


Via The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington admitted that former Yankee prospect Jose Tabata might actually be in his mid-20′s, instead of the 21 he’s believed to be. If you’ve stuck with me throughout all of my blogging adventures, then this shouldn’t be a surprise. There were rumblings Tabata was older than he claimed to be way back when he was in Rookie ball. “I mean the body… it’s hard to argue with the skeptics,” said Keith Law.

If true, Tabata’s prospect status would take a major hit given his complete inability to hit for power at such an advanced age (his best IsoP is .122, and came four years ago). The Xavier Nady-Damaso Marte trade would look that much better as well.

Categories : Asides


  1. WIlliam says:

    Just out of curiosity, but could IPK and Tabata have gotten it done for Santana? (Plus few lower level guys)

    • 28 next year says:

      The Twins were adament on Joba or Hughes and then proposed Wang + Kennedy. I don’t think they would have accepted IPK + Tabata.

    • Jamal G. says:

      Brian Cashman was on WFAN during Spring Training 2008 and said the following two packages were on the table: (i.) Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and two prospects or (ii.) Chien-Ming Wang, Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera and a low-level prospect.

      Unfortunately, that is all I can recall about said interview, and not whether those packages were offered by the Yankees or asked for by the Twins.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius says:

        Man, if that Wang deal was acceptable to the Twins, that would have been great for the Yankees in retrospect, get Johan without giving up Joba, Phil, or Ajax. Obviously hindsight is 20-20. I think part of the sadness of the Wang situation is that not only is he no longer usable for us, but we weren’t able to maximize his value in a trade at a time when many were predicting he might soon fall off a cliff.

  2. 28 next year says:

    If Tabata is actually older, then people could shut up on calling the Nady-Marte trade a bust.

    • Steve H says:

      If Marte’s performance in the World Series didn’t shut those people up, nothing will.

      • vin says:

        It may be short-sighted, but I’d rather have Marte’s strikeout of Utley in game 6 than the potential of Tabata. That was a huge moment, and he delivered (again).

      • Hey ZZ says:

        To be fair didn’t Marte technically sign as a FA after the season? So, we could have actually had Marte for his great run in the playoffs this year without trading Tabata.

        • Mike Bk says:

          well technically if you want to go there we declined his option and then gave him the 3 year deal, so if he had gone elsewhere the option could have been picked up and not been on the market to sign at all.

      • MikeD says:

        I’m not sure how anyone can declare the deal a bust. Nady contributed to the Yankees in 2008 and Marte contributed big time in the World Series. If Tabata goes on to the one of the best players in the NL well, we all have the right to reconsider the deal. Right now it’s been okay.

    • Slugger27 says:

      it was never really a bad move… it didnt turn out well, but that was no fault of cashmans

      the yankees stood to get production from nady in a peak year along with a solid lefty option plus draft picks… both for below market value

      they mishandled marte after the year by signing him to a 3 year deal when they should have offered arb, and that move was certainly a bad one, but the trade itself wasnt… nadys injury couldnt have been expected

      nady in peak year, marte, plus 3 expected draft picks >> tabata and ohlendorf

      • 28 next year says:

        i never thought it was a bad move. A lot of people though think that because other than the playoffs, Marte has been bust and Nady has been injured and the Yankees missed the playoffs.

        • pat says:

          Marte was also injured. People’s fascination with using the word bust is mind boggling.

          • 28 next year says:

            I know he is injured but based on the trade, other than the World Series he wasn’t what we wanted. I would make that trade every time. It is just Marte did not live up to expectations with teh injuries. He made up for it, at least in my mind with the World Series.

            • Slugger27 says:

              i agree… the point isnt that marte/nady didnt meet expectations, the point is that at the time of the trade, the yankees had every right to believe that they WOULD continue their expected performance

              in my mind, that makes it an ok trade

          • Roger says:

            jesus has been around since like 0 bc since the dinosaurs and stuff why are we calling monteros age into question now, grow up man.

    • Bo says:

      How is it a bust? Marte’s WS performance made the trade a winner no matter what these guys turn out to be.

  3. Tom Zig says:

    They probably never will shut up. The trade made perfect sense at the time and marte had an awesome world series. So it was never a bust in my mind.

  4. Slugger27 says:

    im shocked


  5. WIlliam says:

    While the trade probably worked out well for the yankees, some people will say they could have gotten more for Tabata at the time.

    • Yeah I’m sure some people would say that… But we have to remember that, at the time, Tabata was a mess as a 19 year old in AA (both on the field and off), Nady was in the middle of a career year (143 OPS+ at the time of the trade, at age 29), Marte was (and is) a highly regarded left-handed reliever, and the Yankees had serious, immediate needs both in the outfield and in the bullpen at that moment and they were still in playoff contention.

      I didn’t love giving up Tabata and all that pitching at the time – it’s always tough, as a fan, when you follow the prospects only to see them traded away before reaching their potential – but it’s still a tough deal to knock, even with the benefit of hindsight. They gave up some potential for some immediate, MLB talent. If there was a long-term pattern of them selling off all their prospects for aging and overrated players (cough 80s cough) then I could understand the concern, but this was really the only mid-season trade they’ve made the last few years to fill an immediate MLB need in which they gave up good minor league talent/potential. They should be making those deals here and there, it’s when it becomes a way of life that it becomes a problem. Context is important.

  6. Reggie C. says:

    The pirates aren’t buyers at the trading deadline, so its not like the Pirates care much at how Tabata’s viewed by other clubs. Tabata’s been playing professionally for almost 6 years so it was time to put-up-or-shut-up. Tabata better capitalize on his AFL performance if he hopes to figure in the Pirates’s plans for LF.

  7. Cecala says:

    I always liked this trade. I liked Nady a lot more than Tebata,so I never really saw it as a bust. It is a shame that Nady got hurt because this deal would have been a steal.

    • Slugger27 says:

      had we gotten 2 draft picks for marte, it would have probably been a steal even considering nadys injury

      if nady was healthy and performed at a 2-2.5 WAR level all year and we had gotten a supp pick for him, i think it would have been a MAJOR steal

      sigh… what could have been….

      • pat says:

        Riiight, winning the WS with Marte coming up huge in the playoffs is clearly the 2nd best turnout.

        • Slugger27 says:

          if u believe that marte was the difference between winning and losing the WS, then your sarcasm is warranted

          however, id have taken my chances without marte in the WS if it meant 2 extra 1st-round draft picks… im of the belief they would have won it anyway

          your point is noted either way, but i think most of us would agree not offering arb to him after the 08 season was a mistake…

          • Steve in PDX says:

            how would we have gotten 2 first rounders?

          • pat says:

            When he’s healthy Marte is one of the best LHRP in the game. For a team full of aging vets looking to make one last run before transitioning to a more youthful core I’d rather have Marte. I hear what you’re saying about the picks but I’m not gonna call anything that helps the team win now a mistake. Especially when that guy brought the pwn in the playoffs and got a bunch of tough outs.

  8. Slugger27 says:

    while we have reason to doubt his reported age, it is a non-issue to us

    does anyone understand this? how could one of their top 5 prospects being 5 years older than hes alleged to be not be an issue? its a MAJOR issue, right?

    i mean if we had found out ajax was really 25 or 26, that wouldve been a HORRIBLE turn of events… whats the difference with tabata? how in the hell is it a “non-issue”???

    • 28 next year says:

      non-issue for us. He could be 45 for all we care. He is not our property anymore.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      It is an issue, whether they want to admit it or not. If he’s in his mid-20′s, there’s very little left for him to grow into compared to if he was 21.

      • Slugger27 says:

        i just found it a confusing quote… i mean if cashman had said ajax being 26 was a “non-issue” to the yankees, i would have thought hes out of his fucking mind

    • Reggie C. says:

      Its likely a “non-issue” from Huntington’s point-of-view because he hasnt traded a highly-regarded Pirates prospect in a while.

      If anything, Huntington now knows that trading Tabata is pointless so why not hope Tabata turns into a Melky Cabrera-like option.

      • Slugger27 says:

        i dont think they traded for tabata hoping he was melky cabrera, melky cabreras grow on trees

        they were intrigued at an outside chance hed be a 5-tool player at a premium position… this news basically shatters all of that

        • Big Juan says:

          Switch hitting center fielders with above average arms don’t exactly grow on trees.

          • Reggie C. says:

            Absolutely True.

            If i’m Tabata, there’s two things i’m focused on maximizing: OBP & strong corner OF defensive play. McCutchen has locked the CF job, but since Ryan Church and Garrett Jones aren’t long-term answers, Tabata’s got a shot. Tabata still showed an ability to hit for average, though projecting more power at this point isn’t realistic.

          • Slugger27 says:

            u boversimplified things

            melky is a 1 tool player who has posted 3.3 WAR in 4 total seasons… being a switch-hitter means nothing when 270/330/385/716 is what you produce while being a switch-hitter

            hes a 4th OFer, which dont get me wrong, 4th OFers have their uses…. but they certainly arent the centerpiece of trades, at least not for good teams

            guys like melky basically lose all of their value when they hit arbitration

            • Big Juan says:

              Yeah, I don’t disagree with any of that.

              What I said was more like…oh never mind. It just wasn’t a very good comment. I’m particularly fond of Melky, so I overvalue him most likely. Although, I think it’s fair to say you’d rather have Melky than most 4th outfielders. And there are a lot teams he would start for.

        • Reggie C. says:

          I know Huntington (or any other GM for that matter) would’ve hoped that Tabata could turn out to be a starting caliber ML outfielder.

          That’s just not realistic if Tabata is 25 … which Huntington wouldnt have known at the time of the trade. Right now, Huntington has to make the best of a bad situation, so if he suspects Tabata’s really 25, Huntington can only hope that Tabata needs a season at AAA before ML consideration.

  9. It’d help explain his 40 year old wife…

  10. DP says:

    In other news, Peyton Manning throws footballs accurately.

  11. Tom Zig says:

    His celebrations weren’t anything on the level of K-rod, papelbon, or valverde. I like it when ballplayers show a little emotion out there. No one likes robots.

  12. Zack says:

    So does this let Cash move up one more belt level on his ninja status?

    • whozat says:

      Nah, if he did that on purpose, it’d be sleazy. And grievance-worthy.

      • Zack says:

        I meant it more of just moving a player a year before his prospect level just basically dropped to 0. And it was more of a joke than anything else.

        • scooter says:

          At the time of the deal, I thought the Yankees sold low on Tabata – he was having an awful year up to that point, including getting pulled out of 2 games in Trenton for not hustling:

          Joe Sheehan (BP analysis published in SI) thought the Pirates made a smart deal, buying low on a risky talent with a high ceiling:

          With Matsui and Posada done, and the team still in contention, Cashman had to take a shot at a playoff spot – which he did.

          Huntington’s point is valid if the Pirates are keeping Tabata… but if these rumors are true, his trade value is severely reduced.

  13. vin says:

    Just curious… how certain are we of Montero’s age? Not sure if falsifying ages is common in Venezuala. I also understand that it probably doesn’t matter as much since he’s already displayed power and other advanced skills.

    • MikeD says:

      As sure as anyone can be about young Latin players, which means not too confident. That said, I haven’t really heard any rumblings about Montero.

      If he was, let’s say, 21 last year and not 19, what he did in AA would still be impressive, but it would knock him down a few pegs when scouts rate the best prospects in the game. If he was 22 last year, he’d still be the Yankees best prospect, but he’d become more ordinary. If he was 23, then I suggest a total reevalution would be in order.

      The real loser would be Montero. If he was older then the Yankees might have moved him a little more quickly and he might have already completed a season at AAA.

      • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura says:

        Wasn’t Montero thought to have been 16 at the time of the signing but it was revealed he was 17? And because of this they lowered the bonus given to him.

        It would be pretty weird that his age jumped again and he were two years older than thought, and not just one.

        I suppose it’s possible, though doubtful.

    • Mike P says:

      As sure as we are that Jesus never lies.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      Venezuela isn’t like the DR . . . I’d trust the age of a Venezuelan player, generally.

    • Venezuela has better record-keeping and not as much forgery going on as the DR. There hasn’t been a lot of age falsification coming out of VZ.

  14. [...] Tabata was never the same caliber of hitter/prospect as say, Jesus Montero, plus he is apparently older than originally believed. He never showed much power for a corner outfielder and that’s continued to this [...]

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