The major league free agency period begins today. Pardon the Diamondbacks as they stifle a yawn.
While baseball’s big spenders can begin to shower money on a thin free agent pool that includes top tier talent Alex Rodriguez, Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones, the Diamondbacks remain content with the plan that won the NL West in 2007.
“I don’t think we’ll spend a lot of our energy in free agency,” D-Backs general manager Josh Byrnes said.
The D-Backs eschewed the free agent market entirely last season, winning 90 games with a youthful roster that was supplemented through winter trades, not free agency.
While their budget will increase in 2008, much of the extra money will be taken up in increased salaries for current players, even with the loss of $7 million man Livan Hernandez.
Orlando Hudson, Jose Valverde, Brandon Lyon, Chris Snyder, Juan Cruz and Augie Ojeda are eligible for arbitration this season, and they figure to require a big chunk of the D-Backs’ available spending money.
Tony Clark will enter the free agent pool today after a week in which the D-Backs held no talks with his agent, John Boggs.
Clark is seeking about $2 million a year on a two-year deal.
“We’ve had enough discussions that we could sense an interest on their side to see what’s out there on the market. We understand,” Byrnes said.
“There has definitely been interest (from other teams). We’re in no rush. The position you have to take is to be prudent and watch the market,” Boggs said.
Neither side ruled out Clark’s return.
The D-Backs also expect to resume negotiations with manager Bob Melvin on a contract extension that would turn an option for 2009 into a guaranteed year.
“We need to find time to talk,” Byrnes said.
SHORT HOP: Eric Byrnes will host a weekly, three-hour talk show on XM, the satellite radio network said Monday. Byrnes’ show will debut Saturday at 10 a.m. on Channel 175 and run each week until spring training begins. Byrnes is the first player with his own XM show. He hosted an offseason talk show on San Francisco’s KNBR-AM last year.
Top free agents available
Pitchers: Francisco Cordero, Freddy Garcia, Tom Glavine, Livan Hernandez, Mariano Rivera, Kenny Rogers, Kerry Wood.
Position players: Barry Bonds, Mike Cameron, David Eckstein, Luis Gonzalez, Jose Guillen, Paul Lo Duca, Mike Lowell, Torii Hunter, Alex Rodriguez, Aaron Rowand.