Jul 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata (31) hits an RBI double against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Is Jose Tabata The Pirates Answer In Right Field?

The Pirates biggest need as the trade deadline approaches is a right fielder. While other positions could stand to be improved, right field has been a revolving door for the Pirates this year; the Pirates have had starts from Garrett Jones, Travis Snider, Brandon Inge, Jose Tabata, and even Russell Martin. To say that there’s no established starter at that position would be a massive understatement. Names such as Giancarlo Stanton, Nate Schierholtz and Alex Rios have been thrown around as trade targets,  and some people even want Andrew Lambo to be called up for an opportunity to take the job… but what about Jose Tabata?

While he’s not a big-time threat as a power bat, Tabata has posted some respectable numbers this year, albeit in a limited sample size. On the season, he’s hitting .293/.351/.431, with two home runs and eleven RBI over forty-seven games. Over the last four weeks, Tabata is hitting .333/.378/.476. He’s shown an ability to cover right field well since getting called up as well, and has always displayed a strong arm.

The main knocks on Tabata right now are that he’s injury prone, and hasn’t hit very well against lefties. This year against left-handed pitching, he’s hitting .237/.237/.395, which is not something the Pirates can have him continue doing if they want to start him everyday. The Pirates as a team have a serious problem hitting lefties, and Tabata hasn’t contributed to the solution to this point. Over the course of his career, Tabata has hit .257 against left-handed pitching, hardly a number that’s going to strike fear into opposing southpaws.

As far as his troubles with injuries, that’s something you never really know about. It’s unfortunate, but injuries aren’t something that are really predictable. One can hope and pray he stays healthy, but we’ll never know for sure. Can the Pirates trust Jose Tabata to be their everyday right fielder? Should they platoon him with someone like Andrew Lambo, or go out and get a guy like Nate Schierholtz or Alex Rios?

Whatever the Pirates end up doing is largely dependent on how well Tabata plays over the next couple of weeks. Tabata knows that his job is at stake, and hopefully he’ll play like it. If he does, he just might be the right guy for the Pirates to roll with in right field to finish the season. If not, we can always have a giggle at his neck tattoo.

Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Alan Davidson

    personally, my reasoning for asking for a lambo callup on bucsdugout is not because of the RF situation, but rather the 1b situation. Jones has come back to earth this season and because of the platooning situation it give opposing managers an opportunity to drive him outta the game with a left hander, thus bringing in sanchez. once that happens another righty comes in and we have a no shit black hole in the lineup.

    • Campbell Sproul

      That’s a solid point. Whatever position Lambo plays if he gets called up, he should be able to help the team. Just need to pull the trigger.

  • Aaron Blackshaw

    I’m interested to see what it would take to get Cuddyer from the Rockies (should they decide to make him available)?

    • Campbell Sproul

      He’s in pretty high demand. Question is whether or not the Rockies are willing to sell, given how bad the N.L. West is. He’d also be expensive. We’ll have to see what happens.

  • Andrew Sculimbrene

    Seriously, Tabata doesn’t even know how many outs there are at times…watch this evenings game…on rewind…embarrassing