Tony Clark Rumors
Clark will probably cost $3-4MM over two years. His presence and a healthy Chad Tracy might make Conor Jackson expendable for starting pitching.
There are two schools of thought regarding the young, successful Arizona club. The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro seems to think Josh Byrnes will stay quiet this winter, re-signing Tony Clark and letting Randy Johnson replace Livan Hernandez. The East Valley Tribune's Scott Bordow would rather not rely on The Big Unit, instead trading a young position player for a young starter.
Specifically, Bordow notes that Carlos Quentin and Conor Jackson could be expendable. However, injuries complicate possible trades of either player. With Quentin it's direct - he had surgery to repair the rotator cuff and labrum of his non-throwing shoulder in October. It's a six-month timeline for recovery, so he could be ready for Spring Training. Jackson is fine and healthy, but trading him becomes easier if Chad Tracy can prove his health. He had microfracture knee surgery and also expects to be ready in March.
Jackson seems to be the best trading chip - even if Tracy has complications, Clark wouldn't be a terrible full-time stopgap. Jackson, who turns 26 next May, has a respectable if not spectacular .280/.362/.441 line in 310 games. He slugged .555 after the break this year. Which team has an available young starter and badly needs position players? The Giants, with Noah Lowry. I'm not sure if Lowry would impress the D'Backs, though. Plus, the teams are in the same division. The Twins also make for an interesting match, as they might be able to use Jackson in left field. The D'Backs could ask for Matt Garza or Kevin Slowey. The White Sox could use an outfielder; would one year of Jon Garland be an even swap?
Word comes today that Tony Clark is willing to waive his no-trade clause if that's what the Diamondbacks want. The Cubs are the obvious fit - should they go after him?
I vote yes. The Cubs' offense was barely acceptable before Derrek Lee went down, and now it's just plain feeble. This club cannot be backed into playing Neifi Perez regularly once again.
Clark is probably worth a win or two in Lee's two month absence, and that easily justifies the $2MM owed to him through 2007. Josh Byrnes is a shrewd GM, however, so Hendry has to try not to send the next Dontrelle Willis over.
The issue of what to do with Clark once Lee comes back isn't really an issue to me. The Cubs can use him to DH against the Indians and Mariners in June if Lee comes back early and otherwise add some pop and OBP to the bench. If Hendry can flip him somewhere in August, so be it.
Clark is not expensive and not a complainer. If Josh Byrnes isn't asking for Rich Hill, I think a deal should be made. I wouldn't expect Clark to hit .304/.366/.636 again, but he'll improve the team by keeping Neifi on the bench.