Arizona signs Shane Reynolds, Steve Sparks

Updated: December 24, 2003, 11:36 AM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks rounded out their preliminary rotation for 2004 Tuesday, signing right-handers Shane Reynolds and Steve Sparks to one-year contracts.

The two were the club's final additions to the 40-man major league roster.

"A general rule in baseball is that you can never accumulate too much pitching, and any time you can add veterans like Shane and Steve, it can only make you better," Diamondbacks general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said.

Reynolds, 36, received a $1 million contract, with the potential for another $750,000 in performance bonuses. Sparks, a 38-year-old knuckleballer, got $500,000 plus $125,000 in performance bonuses.

They were expected to replace Curt Schilling, traded to the Boston Red Sox on Nov. 28 in a deal that allowed the Diamondbacks to acquire slugger Richie Sexson, and free agent Miguel Batista, who signed with Toronto.

The three returning starters are Randy Johnson, Elmer Dessens and Brandon Webb. Webb went 10-9 last year, with a 2.84 ERA and 172 strikeouts.

"The 2003 season was a great opportunity for us to get a firsthand look at the young pitching in our organization, and we are fortunate to possess several pitchers who will be valuable elements to our staff, not only next year but in the future," Garagiola said. "With that said, Shane and Steve bring nearly 3,000 innings of major league experience to our ball club."

Reynolds, a National League All-Star in 2000, was 11-9 last season with Atlanta. He had a 5.43 ERA in 30 appearances (29 starts), finishing with a career mark of 114-95 with a 4.09 ERA. He spent 11 years with Houston after the Astros drafted him in the third round in 1989, and starred for them in 1998, when he had a 19-8 record and 3.51 ERA.

Sparks was a career-long starter until Detroit and Oakland used him exclusively in relief last year.

He made 42 appearances for the Tigers, going 0-6 with two saves, before he was released. He signed with the Athletics on Aug. 30 and appeared in nine games for the AL West champions.

Sparks made his first career postseason appearance in Game 4 of the AL Division Series against Boston.

He is 56-69 lifetime after spending three years with Milwaukee, followed by two seasons in Anaheim before joining Detroit in 2000.

His top season was 2001, when he went 14-9 with a 3.65 ERA and had an AL-high eight complete games.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press