Diamondbacks Will Catch the Tiger
Tony Clark (Jack Dempsey/AP)

Posted Nov 2, 2007


Tony "the Tiger" Clark is likely to remain Tony "the Diamondback" Clark. It doesn't have the same ring to it, but Clark enjoys playing for the Diamondbacks, and the club craves his leadership skills.

INSIDE PITCH

He filed for free agency, but it's doubtful the Diamondbacks will let veteran first baseman Tony Clark slither away from Phoenix.

The team has made at least one formal offer to its clubhouse leader, believed to be for at least two years, and although Clark and his agent balked at the initial deal, there are plenty of reasons to believe an agreement will be reached before long.

"The Diamondbacks have offered what they think is fair, and they haven't convinced us of that," agent John Boggs said.

Clark filed for free agency on Oct. 30 and is seeking a deal worth more than the two-year, $2 million, bargain-basement value he gave the Diamondbacks to return in 2006. He signed that deal, he said, so he could assure he would play close to his longtime Valley home and to pay close attention to his array of Arizona-wide charities.

"This is not a money grab," Boggs said. "We're not trying to make up for the last contract. We just want what's fair."

The Diamondbacks will almost surely up their offer to bring back Clark, 35, who hit .249 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs in 221 at-bats in a part-time role, splitting time at first base with Conor Jackson.

"You look at what he has produced when given the opportunity to produce," Boggs said. "You double his at-bats, and you could make a good point that he could double his run production."

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Curt Schilling, who helped the Boston Red Sox win their second World Series in four years and was also a member of the Diamondbacks when they beat the Yankees for their only championship in 2001, said he would consider a return to Arizona now that he officially has filed for free agency.

But Schilling's likely salary demand of at least $10 million a year, plus his age (he turns 41 in November) and health questions, particularly with the Diamondbacks already on the hook for veteran and injury risk LHP Randy Johnson, make Schilling's return somewhat unlikely.

--Manager Bob Melvin has entered into preliminary talks with management about a contract extension, and a new deal appeared to be imminent. Melvin is under contract for 2008 and has a club option to return in '09. There were indications from the front office that the team would pick up the option and likely add at least another guaranteed year to Melvin's deal.

--Pitching coach Bryan Price had his 2008 option exercised by the Diamondbacks, bringing him back for at least next season. Bench coach Kirk Gibson and hitting coach Rick Schu are already under contract for 2008. The contracts of third base coach Chip Hale, bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock and first base coach Lee Tinsley were set to expire, but all are expected to be retained.

--Mel Stottlemyre, who spent the 2007 season in an advisory role for the Diamondbacks, has left the organization to become pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners under manager John McLaren.

--2B Orlando Hudson's left thumb has healed well enough that he was on the verge of being cleared to begin full baseball activities. He easily should be ready for the start of spring training.

--Diamondbacks radio play-by-play man Greg Schulte, who has been with the team since its inception, is a nominee for the Ford. C. Frick Award, which has been presented annually since 1970 to a broadcaster for major contributions to baseball.

--RHP Livan Hernandez, INF Jeff Cirillo and RHP Bob Wickman joined 1B Tony Clark in filing for free agency, but none other than Clark is expected to return to the team. Wickman plans to retire.

--RHP Livan Hernandez is set to become a free agent, and although the club wouldn't mind having him back to help anchor the starting rotation, it remains unlikely as Hernandez is expected to command more money on the open market than the Diamondbacks are willing to pay.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Strikeouts by RHP Max Scherzer, the Diamondbacks' first-round pick in 2006, after facing his first 23 batters in the Arizona Fall League.  Her is pitching in the bullpen after spending the season as a starter.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's a good staff. I think Bob trusts everybody and puts a lot of responsibility on our shoulders. He makes it a good working atmosphere. I couldn't be happier to be coming back." -- Pitching coach Bryan Price on manager Bob Melvin and the Diamondbacks coaching staff.


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