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Tabata impresses

Jose Tabata, the high-ceiling outfielder the Yankees sent to Pittsburgh in the Damaso Marte/Xavier Nady deal last July, went 2-4 including the only hit against CC Sabathia last night.

I didn't like the deal much when it happened, and even less now. In fact, the Yankees still think highly of their former prospects.

They gave up on Tabata when he was at his lowest, but there was nothing wrong with giving up on the other three; Karstens, McCutchen and Ohlendorf are all too old for top prospects (25+), and none has a particularly high ceiling. At best, they'll be back end starters. Plus there's the fact that the Yankees have many better prospects that would have surpassed them in short time. Aceves, Coke, Kennedy and Melancon would be ahead of them, with Zach McAllister, Andrew Brackman and others coming up right behind.

Marte is a nice lefty specialist, and Nady is a nice outfielder. Both disappointed after joining the Bombers. Marte had a 5.40 ERA and lost three games despite throwing just 18.1 innings. Nady had a decent 59 games with the Yanks, hitting .268/.320/.474 (for a 105 OPS+).

Cashman was certainly not expecting that kind of letdown. Nady was in the midst of a career year while Marte was having a solid season.

On the flip side, 19-year-old Jose Tabata was at the nadir of his young career, hitting .248/.320/.310 with the Double-A Trenton Thunder. He went on a tear after joining the Pirates organization, crushing the ball to a .348/.402/.562 clip (in an admittedly small sample of 22 games). He showed that promise last night, getting two hits (one off a changeup, the other off a curve). However... he also showed those traits that caused the Yankees to lose faith in him: he looked totally lost in rightfield, seemed to lose focus at points (giving up ABs), and still hasn't shown much power despite making consistent, solid contact. For example, Jesus Montero has one fewer homerun (20) in his pro career than Tabata does, despite playing in half as many games. (He also had multiple wrist injuries.)

Anyway, the 'winner' of the trade will be decided by the future of Tabata.


(h/t to BBTF)