PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday told left fielder Luis Gonzalez they will not bring him back next season.
"Obviously, this is a very difficult day for the organization," general manager Josh Byrnes said during a news conference. "Gonzo's done about everything you can in this market as a player and as a person.
"Change isn't easy, but we feel very good about the cast that will continue to wear the uniform."
Byrnes, managing partner Jeff Moorad and assistant general manager Peter Woodfork informed Gonzalez and his representatives of the club's decision during a breakfast meeting. Moorad used to be Gonzalez's agent, and he negotiated the player's current contract.
Byrnes said Eric Byrnes, who has played center field this year, would become the team's everyday left fielder next season. Chris Young, who was recently promoted from Triple-A Tucson, will take over in center. Another rookie, Carlos Quentin, is penciled in for right field.
The club had not been expected to exercise its $10 million option on Gonzalez for 2007. But Gonzalez had said he would be open to discussing a new deal that would allow him to return for a ninth season in Arizona.
"I want to stay here," Gonzalez said this week. "There's no secret about that. I don't have any control over it."
Team officials said Gonzalez approached the club recently and asked if a decision could be made soon so he could begin saying goodbyes if he weren't in the organization's plans.
"I think more than anything, Gonzo desired clarity," Moorad said. "Would it have been our preference to wait until the end of the season? Of course. I think there was a legitimate need for clarification. We didn't want to play games or mislead our fan base or Luis."
Gonzalez is expected to speak to reporters before Friday night's home game against Colorado.
The Arizona Republic first reported the meeting on its Web site.
The 39-year-old Gonzalez is perhaps the most popular player in the nine-year history of the franchise. But his future with the team appeared uncertain as the Diamondbacks promoted Quentin and Young this season from Triple-A Tucson.
The Diamondbacks acquired Gonzalez from Detroit after their debut season in 1998, and he went on to become the franchise leader in every major batting category. He hit 57 homers with 142 RBIs in 2001.
Gonzalez also produced the most memorable moment in team history -- the bloop single off New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Game 7 that drove in the winning run in the 2001 World Series. It remains the state's only major sports championship.
On Tuesday night, Gonzalez became the oldest player in baseball history to hit 50 doubles in a season. He has 545 career doubles, 20th on the all-time list.
Gonzalez is batting .277 with 15 home runs and 71 RBIs this year.