What happens in June if Milledge is still producing at a very poor offensive level (currently .228/.274/.291) or only slightly better, and Tabata continues to produce near his .296/.367/.420 numbers? If that happens, do you want Tabata staying down at AAA for another year in hopes of him developing power? My problem with this is that the player he should replace in Pittsburgh has shown no power at the plate. Tabata would probably be a better bat and he would definitely be better in the field and on the bases.
I anticipate you guys giving three reasons to keep Tabata down at Indy through this year (at least until September):
1) He needs to "refine" his skills; i.e., he needs to show power. But how do you respond to my argument that the player he should replace, Milledge, has had over two full seasons to prove himself in the Bigs and has an OPS+ of 88? That's unacceptable for a corner outfielder, especially one with one stolen base on the year so far.
2) Milledge is showing promise. Well, I don't see it. I am glad that his attitude and hustle has apparently improved since coming to Pittsburgh, but a career .264/.324/.392 line - and trending downward - is unacceptable. I like high ceiling guys, but Milledge just isn't doing it for me. I think Church could fill in and do a better job, but Milledge is only getting the playing time because of his age/ the amount of years the Bucs would control him.
3) Tabata's free agency clock shouldn't start until 2011. This is the only argument I find somewhat compelling. But if Tabata should be in the starting lineup, I don't like keeping him in AAA for an entire year beyond what he should be. From a selfish standpoint, I want to see Pedro and Tabata up as soon as possible so I can get excited about the Pirates' future.