Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Tuesday that Jose Tabata will have to earn playing time next season.
Tabata batted just .243/.315/.348 with three homers, 16 RBI and a .664 OPS in 103 games this past season and will likely find himself on the bench in 2013 with Starling Marte and Travis Snider projected to start in the corner outfield spots. "He's still young enough and talented enough," said Huntington. "With Taby, a big part of it is just conditioning. We need to get him back to where he was a couple of years ago. If we can do that, the athlete is going to show up again and the bat speed is going to show up again." The 24-year-old outfielder is owed $12.75 million over the next four seasons while his contract includes three club options, so there's reason for the Pirates to be patient, but he could present a nice-buy low opportunity for someone.