Considering that just last August Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata signed a $15 million contract -- one that could potentially keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2019 season and pay him a total of $37.5 million over the life of the deal -- you wouldn't think that he would wind up back in the minors inside of a year.
But that's just what has happened.
On Tuesday, the Pirates optioned the struggling Tabata (.230/.295/.341 with just three homers in 72 games, leads the majors with nine times caught stealing) to Triple-A Indianapolis. As Tom Singer of MLB.com notes, the 23-year-old Tabata, who was acquired from the Yankees in July 2008, has frustrated manager Clint Hurdle with his lapses in the field. "The talking part is over," Hurdle recently said. "He needs to play. We've worked through this about as far as we can. It's time."
Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez has been recalled to replace Tabata on the roster.