MLBPA keeps Tony Clark, extends executive director through 2027

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Major League Baseball Players Association has voted to extend the contract of executive director Tony Clark through 2027.

The 50-year-old Clark – who had a 15-year big league career, mostly with the Tigers and Diamondbacks – helped broker the players’ current labor deal with MLB. After several contentious months of negotiations, the MLBPA and MLB agreed to the new deal in March, which saved a full 162-game season.

The MLBPA confirmed Clark’s extension.

The five-year extension means Clark is in position to lead the players through their next deal, too. The current contract is set to expire after the 2026 season.

Clark has had a busy last few years, helping guide the players through the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. He also helped the union add thousands of more players after the minor leagues voted to join the MLBPA earlier this year.

The Athletic first reported the news of Clark’s extension.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.