07/31/08 4:00 PM ET
D-backs stand pat at Deadline
NL West leaders content with acquisitions of Clark, Rauch
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
That was not a surprise seeing as how the club did its work in the weeks before, when the D-backs acquired first baseman Tony Clark and reliever Jon Rauch.
"Both have already paid dividends and we are confident they will continue to," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said.
Rauch has pitched well since joining the D-backs, and he is under contract for a reasonable salary each of the next two seasons. That is important, as Arizona could lose closer Brandon Lyon and setup man Juan Cruz to free agency following this season.
Clark, meanwhile, has shown some rust at the plate as a result of not being used much during his time with the Padres, but he has had a calming influence in the D-backs' clubhouse.
"I think everybody was excited about having a guy like that back," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "The day he got back into uniform, other than a number change, it really felt like he never left. He fits in very well here, and hit the ground running as soon as he got here. He's been a great sounding board for everybody here, including me."
The D-backs talked to a lot of teams in the weeks leading up to the Deadline, most notably the Braves about first baseman Mark Teixeira, but were not willing to part with outfielder Conor Jackson or top pitching prospects Max Scherzer or Jarrod Parker in any deal.
The D-backs did not feel pressured to make a deal given their resurgent play of late.
Arizona started the year on a tear both at the plate and on the mound, jumping out to a 20-8 mark through April.
While the pitching remained strong, the offense went into a prolonged funk, and the team compiled below .500 records in both May and June, but remained in or near first place thanks to a weak National League West.
The D-backs have won seven of their past nine games heading into a four-game showdown with the second-place Dodgers on Thursday in Los Angeles. Cruz, who has been on the disabled list with a stained oblique, is set to return soon, and the club is hopeful to have outfielder Justin Upton, who has a similar injury, back in a couple of weeks.
"As always, we explored a lot of options for improving," Byrnes said. "But we certainly like our club. We're starting to play well again and we're getting healthy. We like our team as it is."
Melvin said the day before the Deadline that he was content to go forward with the team as it is currently constructed.
"I like the group that we have, and we'll go forward with this group," Melvin said.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.