In another move made in part with an eye on 2010, the Diamondbacks on Sunday released veteran first baseman Tony Clark.
Clark, 37 and in his 15th season in the majors, was hitting just .182 with four home runs in 66 at-bats.
In parts of five seasons with the Diamondbacks,
Clarkhit .255 with 59 home runs in 831 at-bats, time mostly spent as the club’s primary pinch-hitter off the bench and as a leader in the clubhouse.
Clearly, this move has been much awaited and will now be much celebrated (at least, here). Piecoro notes that Chad Tracy is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, so the club will likely call up (yet again) Josh Whitesell to get more of a look to see who the first baseman of the future will be. While I'm sure Tony Clark will be missed in the clubhouse, Mark Reynolds has shown that he can step up and be a leader of this team. It's time for the next generation of leaders to come forth.
There is no word yet on whether Clark will retire, seek employment with another team, or head into a front office position. Should this have been his final stint in uniform as a player, Clark will end with a .262 batting average and 251 home runs in 15 seasons with six teams. He was 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 1996 and was an All-Star in 2001.
This is breaking news. Surely more details will be coming out during the All-Star break.
[Edited Monday morning] A story from Steve Gilbert at MLB.com has some quotes from Clark on the move. It was not a surprise, but certainly it's never easy hearing that you are no longer useful to an MLB team...
"I'm thankful to the organization for giving me an opportunity to realize the dream of being a part of my hometown team," Clark, a Glendale, Ariz., resident, told MLB.com late Sunday night. "I'm disappointed I was not able to do my part to get them to a World Series."
In recent weeks, the team had let Clark know that this day could be coming. He said he was also told that the team would like to have him remain a part of the organization in some capacity when his playing career ends.
"We both remain hopeful that there will be an opportunity in the future to be a part of the organization in one facet or another," Clark said.
Clark will certainly have options. He has been sought after in the past for baseball broadcasting and has been viewed in the game as someone who would make a good manager at some point.
"Going forward I'll continue to work out and exhaust the possibility of continuing to play," Clark said. "If over the course of the next couple of weeks there are not any, I will wholeheartedly look to transition into something else."
No matter what, he and his family will continue their local charitable endeavors. It sounds like he'd like to play, but he also says he told his wife that this may be the end, and he wants to "get it right" whatever his next move will be.
Thanks to Counsellmember for reporting the news in the recap.