The Arizona Diamondbacks did an about-face Tuesday and announced they had
signed outfielder Eric Byrnes to a three-year, $30 million contract
extension after talks had broken off weeks ago.
The popular and energetic outfielder had said at the time this would in all likelihood be his final season with the team, as he was set to become a free agent this winter.
"I can't tell you how excited I am," said Byrnes, who is batting .301 with 17 homers, 64 RBIs and 28 stolen bases. "It really, truly doesn't have a whole lot to do with the money. We can talk about $30 million, we can talk about $3 million, we can talk about $3. I am just thrilled to be able to play here for the next three years."
General manager Josh Byrnes, no relation, was happy to resolve a situation that quickly was beginning to draw the fans' ire. Eric Byrnes has emerged a popular favorite in Phoenix and, playing left field, he has been able to replace the longtime face of the franchise, Luis Gonzalez, who left the organization under bitter terms last season.
"We got a guy who obviously impacts the game in a lot of ways," Josh Byrnes said. "He's shown that with the bat, with the glove, with what he can do on the bases. And, perhaps as important, how he can impact a team."
The extension means the Diamondbacks likely will be looking for a trading partner for right fielder Carlos Quentin, who has struggled all season and presently is on the disabled list. His starting job now belongs to top prospect Justin Upton, who hit a double, a triple and a home run in his Chase Field debut after being promoted from Class AA last week.
PIRATES 8, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Justin Upton doubled, tripled and homered in his Chase Field debut Tuesday, but the explosive rookie outfielder couldn't help the Diamondbacks hold off the Pirates.
Upton had three of his team's four hits off Pittsburgh starter Tom Gorzelanny, who was pitching for the first time in nearly two weeks. He struck out a career-high nine batters in seven innings.
Upton, 19, tripled in the second, homered in the fourth and doubled in the seventh. He hit a comeback shot past the mound in the bottom of the ninth that was fielded and thrown to first for the out to end the game.
--LF Eric Byrnes said he plans to donate $250,000 from his new, three-year, $30 million contract to the Pat Tillman Foundation in honor of the late football player killed in Afghanistan. Byrnes and Tillman were friends, and Byrnes and some other players helped form another charitable arm in honor of Tillman called Team Tillman, to which Byrnes regularly contributes.
--Seven members of the Diamondbacks' Class A affiliate in Visalia, Calif., were involved in a car accident, including INF Blake Sharpe, who suffered a fractured skull. LHP Brett Anderson suffered a mild concussion, and RHP Cody Evans had his back evaluated, but neither was hospitalized. The other players in the accident were C John Hester, RHP Hector Ambriz and OFs Cyle Hankerd and Greg Thomson. Hankerd was behind the wheel of a Chevy Tahoe and apparently lost control of the vehicle as the players were en route to an amusement park on their off day.
--Manager Bob Melvin on the club's 5-1 trip at San Diego and Los Angeles: "We've got pretty good timing, as far as when pitching's good and when the offense has to step it up. I think contributions across the board on this team have made a big difference, whether it's (Chris) Snyder and (Chris) Young showing up one night, (Eric) Byrnes and (Orlando) Hudson have been pretty much constants for us, (Mark) Reynolds coming in ... (Conor) Jackson getting hot at certain times. I think the fact that that everyone on this team has contributed kind of makes it a little more of a team type of feeling, especially here of late, a winning atmosphere."
--RHP Byung-Hyun Kim, claimed off waivers from the Marlins, makes his season debut with the Diamondbacks on Wednesday when he starts against visiting Pittsburgh. Of his start, Kim said, "I don't like to lose. I'm trying to help this team win."
Kim, who pitched for Arizona from 1999 to 2003, is best remembered for allowing three home runs to the Yankees during Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series, which the Diamondbacks rallied to win in seven games. As for any possible fan reaction to his start, Kim said, "I don't know. I'm not thinking about that."
--CF Chris Young is hitting only .239, but he has 19 home runs and 40 RBIs. When leading off an inning, Young has been a catalyst: a .323 average with eight runs, eight walks, seven doubles, a triple and eight home runs.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He is as big-league ready as you can be at 19. For what he can do and what he can do at that age, you're talking about a very short list." -- Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes, on outfield prospect Justin Upton, who was promoted from Class AA Mobile on Aug. 2 and is expected to be the club's everyday starter in right field.
Are you a full member of FutureBacks.com? If not, then you are missing out on the top Diamondbacks coverage we provide to our premium members, as well as full access to over 300 other Scout.com sites. Join us today!