As the Diamondbacks continued to talk to Oakland about outfielder Eric Byrnes, sources said the team is getting close to signing free agent first baseman Tony Clark to a one-year contract.
Clark, 32, earned $750,000 with the Yankees last year, hitting .221 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs in 106 games. A solid backup to Chad Tracy — the expected starter at first base now that Shea Hillenbrand has been dealt to Toronto — the Glendale resident provides power off the bench (191 career home runs) and is a good defensive first baseman. Clark is a switch hitter, but most of his offense comes from the left side.
Neither Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr., nor Clark’s agent, John Boggs, commented on the negotiations.
The deal may take a little more time because Arizona has no room on its 40-man roster, so Clark would have to agree to a non-roster, "makegood’’ deal and there are still a few roster jobs open at first base around the league. But sources said both sides feel good about the prospect of Clark becoming a D-Back.
Garagiola said he spoke with A’s general manager Billy Beane about Byrnes on Friday night. Byrnes, who hit .283 with 20 home runs and 17 steals last season, is expect to avoid arbitration and sign a one-year, $2 million deal with the A’s before Tuesday’s deadline. But that won’t deter either Arizona or the New York Mets from pursuing him in a trade.
The Mets are in a time crunch because they are trying to clear salary space to make a run at free agent first baseman Carlos Delgado and are in a battle with Florida, Texas and at least two other teams for his services. The Mets want to trade Mike Cameron (two years and $14 million on his contract) but would have to include money — likely about $4 million — in any deal with Oakland (for Byrnes) or Arizona (for pitching and prospects).