Results tagged ‘ jose tabata ’
Some news and notes from day three of mini camp:
- Jose Tabata played against Jorge Julio (who recently signed a minor league deal with the Pirates) this offseason during winter ball. “He looked good,” Tabata said. “He’s still a good pitcher.”
- Players have noticed Tabata’s offseason weight gain by refering to him as “a beast.” Altough he claims to weigh 212 (Pirates media guide said he weighed 210 last year) it’s all muscle, not fat.
“Yeah, I’m bigger,” Tabata said, grinning. “I worked out in the gym every day this winter. I want to be bigger and stronger. This year, my idea is to hit more home runs.”
Tabata hopes that the added strength will help him produce more homeruns during the 2011 season.
“It’s a good feeling,” Tabata said. “But I have to be careful not to let it change my swing. Sometimes, when you want to hit home runs, your swing gets real long. I can’t let that happen.”
- Matt Diaz, Lyle Overbay, Joel Hanrahan, Neil Walker and Ross Ohlendorf held a round table discussion with some of the Bucs top minor leaguers. “I have no idea what I’m going to tell them,” Ohlendorf said. “I’ll come up with something.”
Tony Sanchez tweeted later that night saying, “had a good meeting with Hurd and some of the older big leaguers. lots of insight on how life is as a big leaguer.”
- Sanchez also broke the news (via twitter) that he was invited to spring training: “Just got the word that im invited to Big League Camp. Unreal! Get to pretend im one of the guys… “
- MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Pirates are one of six teams that have offered Jose Veras a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
Veras posted a 3.85 ERA in 48 innings for the Marlins in 2010.
The Pirates have announced what players will be at Piratefest this year. The indoor baseball carnival features live events, autograph sessions, prizes, games and much, much more. The event runs Friday, January 28th(for season ticket holders only), Saturday, January 29th (10-8) and Sunday, January 30th (Noon-5). You can purchase tickets here.
Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Evan Meek, Garrett Jones, Jose Tabata, Paul Maholm, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, Brad Lincoln, Kevin Correia and James McDonald, along with new manager Clint Hurdle, pitching coach Ray Searage and bench coach Jeff Banister are scheduled to attend.
Yours truly will also be at Piratefest all day on Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to say hello.
The Pirates are holding a mini-camp starting on Monday in Bradenton, Florida. The camp this year will be focused on conditioning and will run four days.
Those expected to attend (according to Jenifer Langosch) are:
Pitchers – Michael Crotta, Joel Hanrahan, Kevin Hart, Jeff Karstens, Brad Lincoln, Jeff Locke, Daniel McCutchen, James McDonald, Kyle McPherson, Evan Meek, Bryan Morris, Charlie Morton, Daniel Moskos, Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Resop, Aaron Thompson, Tony Watson
Catchers – Jason Jaramillo
Infielders – Pedro Ciriaco, Lyle Overbay, Steve Pearce, Josh Rodriguez, Neil Walker
Outfielders – Matt Diaz, Gorkys Hernandez, Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Alex Presley, Jose Tabata
Non Roster invites – Dusty Brown, Brian Burres, Josh Fields, Fernando Nieve, Justin Thomas, Cesar Valdez, Corey Wimberly
Pedro Alvarez and Chris Leroux are currently listed as maybes to attend.
Matt Diaz is excited for the opportunity to be a part of something special and believes his roots make him a Pittsburgh kind of guy.
“I can’t wait to earn them as fans,” Diaz said. “They’ve been looking for something to cheer for in the summers. They’ve had plenty to cheer for in the winters. I’m ready to be a part of changing things around.”
Four teams were after Diaz, including the Bucs, but he said Clint Hurdle had a huge role in signing with the Pirates.
“The more I talked with Rangers players, they started singing [Pirates manager and former Rangers hitting coach] Clint Hurdle’s praises,” Diaz said. “Everyone was talking great about Clint.”
“Originally I viewed Pittsburgh as a place to go get at-bats and prove that I’m healthy,” Diaz said. “The more I talked to them, the more I realized that I could get at-bats and be a part of something really great. It was just a comfort thing, just a peace thing.”
The Pirates offered Diaz a one-year contract, but he asked for another year because he knew something good was going to happen in the Steel city.
“I said, ‘I would love to come in and help the young guys out as much as I can. But in 2012, I don’t want to be doing this all over again while you are having the time of your life,’” Diaz said. “We can have some fun in 2011 and really surprise some people with the plan they have in place. But I think 2012 can be special.”
Diaz, who at 32 is the oldest player on the roster, will take on a leadership role. He has played and learned from so many great players, he is happy to help the young bucs.
“I’ve been given so much in this game, and I was groomed by some pretty neat veterans in Kansas City and Tampa,” Diaz said. “If I can have some impact there to where I’m remembered after I’m gone, that will be a wonderful thing.
“The key for this young group is to take ownership of this team. It is going to be imperative for the older guys to really help and aid the young guys taking ownership of this team. They have to show that they’re willing to outwork other teams and leave it all on the field.”
Other News and Notes:
- Jose Tabata is hitting .353 (6-for-17) with a 1.165 OPS after his first six games of winter ball in Venezuela.
- Pirates prospect Jarek Cunningham, who was selected in the 18th round of the 2008 draft, will start the new year by blogging. Cunningham will give viewers an inside look at what life is like as a minor league player.
He made his debut for the Gulf Coast League batting .318 with 5 HR’s, and 22 RBI’s in 43 games. Last season, with West Virginia Power, he hit .258 with 12 HR’s and 49 RBI’s in 121 games.
For more information and where to catch his blog, click here.
- MLB’s minimum salary for 2011 will now be $414,000 per year.
The Pirates have cleared Jose Tabata to play in the final month of winter ball for the Caribes de Anzoategui in the Dominican Republic.
Tabata was wanting to play the entire season this winter, but the Bucs were hesitant since he is coming off his rookie season for the Pirates.
The two sides came to a compromise allowing Tabata to plain the remainder of December.
“I think it was a situation where we challenged Jose to make sure he was doing what he needed to do for his career in Pittsburgh,” said director of player development Kyle Stark.
“Those guys get pulled to go play in Winter Ball. We wanted to make sure those guys understand that the first commitment is to their own career in Pittsburgh. I think it was a situation where we had to make sure he was in baseball shape and ready to do it and in position to start the spring and have a good spring.”
After all the huge contracts that have surfaced over the past few days, General Manager Neal Huntington discusses why the Pirates will not overpay for free-agents.
“It’s not a sound business practice,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “(Overpaying) doesn’t make sense for us. We’re looking to get players here who are excited about their opportunity, about what we’re trying to accomplish and who will make us better for the right reasons.”
“Any team that hasn’t had recent success is going to have to overpay for guys like (Jayson) Werth and (Carl) Crawford — and in some cases, grossly overpay,” former New York Mets GM Jim Duquette said. “That’s the unfortunate thing for Pittsburgh. Championship-caliber players want to win now. They don’t want to have to wait. If you ask them to wait, you’re going to have to pay for that.”
While the Pirates will sign upgrades to compliment the young core of Bucs, the main focus will be on second-tier players rather than big name players. But with young players like Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, James McDonald and several others currently at the majors and many more talented prospects not far from debuting, the Bucs have a bright future ahead.
Monday kicks off the first day of the Winter Meetings held at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The Pirates have several gaps to fill for the 2011 season: a starting pitcher (or two), a first baseman/right fielder, shortstop and bullpen help for Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan.
The young Bucs can be penciled in for next season: Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, and James McDonald.
“We feel it’s important to provide this young group of players weapons that will help them experience success in 2011,” President Frank Coonelly said. “More help is coming quickly through the much improved minor league system, but there are needs that we’re trying to address now to enable us to win in 2011. If we can address these needs without giving up prospects who we believe will be a part of our long-term success and without impeding our ability to lock up the young players who we are developing to long-term agreements, we need to do that.”
“We are targeting players on the market who will address these needs without jeopardizing our longer-term goals,” Coonelly said. “We have the financial resources available to address these needs, and we are looking forward to adding more talent to the improving young talent that has joined the roster over the past two years.”
The Pirates reportably were interested in Jorge De La Rosa (who re-signed with the Rockies) and first baseman Lance Berkman (who signed with the Cardinals). But there are many other players the Bucs could peruse: first baseman Derek Lee and Carlos Pena, right fielders Jeff Francouer, Jack Cust and Matt Diaz, shortstops J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett.
Steve Pearce and Lastings Milledge (who was non-tendered) could also be filled from within the organization to play first base/right field.
We are comfortable with Steve Pearce filling a role on the major league club,” General Manager Neal Huntington said. “We continue to be open to Lastings Milledge returning, too, but we are also exploring other potential fits.”
Starting pitching is the most important for the Pirates to fill. Scott Olsen is rumored to be in serious talks with the Pirates. Other options include: Brandon Webb (reports that the talks have gone cold with the cy-young award winner), Justin Duchscherer and Jeff Francis.
Thursday marks the Rule 5 draft and the Pirates have the first pick. Starter Aneury Rodriguez is the favorite, The right-hander went 6-5 with a 3.80 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 113.2 innings in Triple-A (Tampa Bay Ray’s organization).
The 40-man roster currently has four spots open.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed the Pirates new hitting coach Gregg Ritchie.
The Bucs finished last in the National League in average (.242) and on-base percentage (.304) and third worse in home runs (126). Ritchie, who has spent the past decade as hitting coach with the white sox, has a huge task at hand but is excited to work with Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata who have plenty of prime years ahead.
“It’s an exciting group,” Ritchie said. “And I’m especially fortunate in that I’ve had a chance to work with all of them closely.”
Ritchie’s plan for the Pirates hitters: “It’s about understanding a guy, having a relationship, having a trust and having a common cause.”
Ritchie expresses the most cautious tinkering with mechanics and has a flexible approach. “What’s in front of your eyeballs? What does the pitcher have to offer? What situation are we in? If there’s a situation where we need to be aggressive, we’ve got to understand that. If it’s a pitcher who doesn’t throw many strikes, we’ve got to understand that. If you work the process and have a team concept that we’re going to be run-producers, all that takes care of itself.”
On whether Pedro Alvarez has a whole in his swing: “If you look at Pedro as he moved from one level to the next, it was a consistent learning process. You’d see him struggle a little bit, then bam! He’d go to the next level, struggle a little bit, then bam! This guy has just made fabulous adjustments. So, no, that’s not a concern at all.”
On whether Neil Walker’s numbers were an aberration: “It’s going to be about repeating the consistency of things. Neil’s a talented guy, and he’s made advances the whole way through the system. There’s no reason why that can’t continue.”
On Jose Tabata hitting only four home runs: “Becoming a consistently good hitter, from a team approach, is everything. All the rest builds and builds. A hitter like Jose, who shows tremendous barrel control, that’s going to be the most important thing. He’s going to continue to get better.”
Peter Gammons wrote an article several days ago about the “windows opening for the Marlins, Pirates and Royals” in which he said a quote I think should make Pirates fans happy. Here in Pittsburgh, we are aware of the great talent in the minors and those young Bucs are slowly making their way to the majors. (Evidence is Alvarez, Tabata, McCutchen, Lincoln, and Walker) But it really makes a difference when a guy like Gammons hints at light at the end of the tunnel.
“By mid-2013, Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen could well be stars of different kinds, Tony Sanchez could be a front-line defensive catcher and, if all goes well, the Pirates will be starting to see the fruits of their search for power arms, as opposed to the mediocre pitchers they selected at the top of the Drafts in the past decade.”
Chins up Pirates’ fans, 2013 and 2014 could be exciting years for the city of Pittsburgh.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch will be answering fan’s questions on a weekly basis until Spring Training starts. Below are a few of the questions I thought were interesting from this weeks inbox. You can read the entire transcript here.
What do you think are in the plans for Milledge, Delwyn Young and LaRoche?
This is a good question, but a tough one to answer given that the Pirates are still evaluating how each might fit into the team’s long-term plans. All three of those players are arbitration-eligible, so each is due a decent pay bump as a result. It’s not a guarantee, however, that each will be offered arbitration.
I think it’s a safe bet that Milledge will be tendered a contract given that the outfielder is still just 25 years old and could be an option if the Pirates decide to go with a platoon in right field. He was acquired just a year and a half ago, and I can’t see the Pirates giving up on him just yet.
Young fills a good role off the bench for Pittsburgh, but the club ultimately has to decide if the pinch-hits are worth the increase in salary. If the Pirates believe they can get that offense from other internal options for less money, there’s always a chance Young could be on his way elsewhere.
LaRoche’s situation is most tenuous, and how he fares down in winter ball will weigh heavily in the Pirates’ evaluation about whether to keep the infielder around. LaRoche is playing all four infield positions in Venezuela. His only shot at hanging onto a roster spot with the Pirates is to show them that he can be an effective extra infielder and that he can hit without consistent at-bats. LaRoche definitely didn’t show the latter in 2010; consequently, don’t be surprised if he is gone before Spring Training.
Are the Pirates sure enough on some of their younger players to consider offering them long-term contracts?
It’s not common for teams to begin approaching players with less than one year of Major League service time about signing long-term deals. Yes, it happens occasionally — as it did a few years back with Evan Longoria and the Rays — but it’s not the norm. That said, it’s probably a bit too early to expect extensions being offered to Pedro Alvarez or Jose Tabata, even though each is still viewed as integral pieces of the club’s future.
McCutchen, however, could be a different case. The outfielder has now played more than a year and a half in the Majors and would seem to be a prime candidate for a contract extension in the next year or two. He is still under the team’s control for five more seasons, but by inking him to a long-term deal now, the Pirates would get two things. They would have financial certainty (in other words, they will know exactly how much will be allocated to McCutchen’s salary each season). And they could try to buy out a year or two of free agency from the center fielder.
Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan could also be candidates for multiyear deals, possibly something similar to the two-year deal given to Matt Capps in 2008. Like McCutchen, Meek and Hanrahan have had sustained success for more than one year and have shown signs that such success isn’t a fluke.