Womack OKs $17M Deal With D’Backs
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Tony Womack, the National League stolen base leader in his first three full major league seasons, agreed Sunday to a $17 million, four-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Womack, 30, had shuttled between the majors and minors for six years before sticking for good with Pittsburgh in 1997. He had 60 steals that year, and followed it up with 58 and 72.
He hit .277 with four homers and 41 RBIs last season in his first year with the Diamondbacks, making the move from the infield to right field. Arizona plans to shift him again next season to shortstop.
``It’s a challenge for Tony,″ Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter said.
Womack, who made $1.65 million, had been eligible for salary arbitration. He gets $2.5 million next season, $4 million in 2001, $4.5 million in 2002 and $6 million in 2003. His agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, said the deal was put together during about five meetings with the Diamondbacks.
Womack, who had seen much time at second base and shortstop before last season, scored 111 runs, third-most on the Diamondbacks. The leadoff man was the only player in the major leagues with 50 steals and 100 runs scored.
``I can’t tell you how many times he stole a base in the ninth inning for us,″ Showalter said.
Womack was eligible for salary arbitration last winter as a ``Super 2,″ one of the players with 2-to-3 years of major league service who regained arbitration eligibility in the 1990 lockout settlement. Under that deal, the top 17 percent of that group by service time became eligible.
Womack, an All-Star for Pittsburgh in 1997, was acquired by Arizona from the Pirates last February for minor league pitcher Jason Boyd.