08/19/11 4:42 PM ET
Pirates near contract extension for Tabata
Club also in negotiations for new deal for Walker
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
Tabata's deal is "very close" to completion and an agreement is likely to be reached during this homestand. The deal, according to a source close to the negotiations, would cover six years. It's unknown how much the deal would be worth.
Though the Pirates have said they prefer not to negotiate contract extensions during the season, it was the club that reached out to Tabata.
A six-year extension would lock Tabata up through all three arbitration years and one year of free agency. There could also be club options attached to the contract, which would give the organization the chance to even further delay Tabata's entrance into the free agent pool.
Tabata made his Major League debut last June and has hit .285 with 33 stolen bases, 35 doubles and 102 runs scored in 175 big-league games. The Pirates have the flexibility to play Tabata at either corner outfield spot.
Walker has been in ongoing negotiations with the Pirates lately, too, concerning a long-term deal, and the sides appear optimistic that something will get done. Walker, like Tabata, is slated to become a free agent at the end of the 2016 season, so the Pirates would likely also want to cover at least six years in a deal with the second baseman.
In 247 games with the Pirates, Walker has hit .280 with 51 doubles, 22 homers and 135 RBIs. Walker, a first-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, has already entrenched himself as the second baseman of the future.
The Pirates also remain open to working out a long-term deal with centerfielder Andrew McCutchen, though there is no indication that negotiations are currently ongoing. McCutchen will be a free agent after 2015.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.