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D-backs offseason FAQ: Financial flexibility?

@SteveGilbertMLB
October 3, 2019

PHOENIX -- The D-backs will have some more flexibility this offseason then they’ve had in previous offseasons, general manager Mike Hazen said during his end-of-the-season press conference, thanks in part to the trade of Zack Greinke, which helped free up some payroll. The D-backs saved about $53 million over the

PHOENIX -- The D-backs will have some more flexibility this offseason then they’ve had in previous offseasons, general manager Mike Hazen said during his end-of-the-season press conference, thanks in part to the trade of Zack Greinke, which helped free up some payroll.

The D-backs saved about $53 million over the next two seasons by sending Greinke to the Astros, receiving four prospects in return. Some of that money will have to go to players currently on the roster who are set for raises through arbitration, but Hazen did say it gives him more options.

“We want to use that wisely. Whether that comes via free agency, via trade, it’s hard to say right now,” Hazen said. “There will be more, I’d assume, flexibility than what we’ve had in the past. We haven’t met with [ownership] yet to talk through what it’s going to look like next year. I’ve been given no indication that it won’t be at least status quo from how we’ve operated the last few years. That will give us some areas I think to be creative from a financial standpoint. I think we’ve tried to be creative in other ways in the past.”

With that in mind, here is a FAQ-style look at the D-backs' roster as the offseason begins:

Which D-backs are eligible for free agency?

Alex Avila, Adam Jones and Yoshihisa Hirano will become free agents one day following the conclusion of the World Series.

Which players have contract options for 2020?

The D-backs hold contract options to two players. Infielder Wilmer Flores has a $6 million contract option, and if Arizona doesn’t pick it up, the club would owe him a $500,000 buyout. Lefty T.J. McFarland has a $1.85 million club option and would be owed a $50,000 buyout if it’s not exercised.

Will the options be picked up?

Flores had a nice year for the D-backs at the plate, but they may decide not to bring him back given that they have many other infield options. McFarland has proven to be an effective lefty out of the 'pen and his contract is for a relatively small amount, so it would make sense for Arizona to pick it up.

What will the 2020 payroll be?

Hazen still needs to sit down with managing general partner Ken Kendrick and CEO/president Derrick Hall to determine what his budget will be. The team had a club-record Opening Day payroll of around $130 million in 2018, and it was about $8 million less than that this year. It’s likely to increase slightly this year, but there will be more money to spend within that given that Greinke’s contract is now gone.

Who will be eligible for salary arbitration?

The D-backs have a large class of arbitration-eligible players this year. Here is the list of players, including what round of arbitration this will be for them and their 2019 salary:

Nick Ahmed (third time, $3.6625 million in 2019)
Matt Andriese (second, $920,000)
Archie Bradley (second, $1.83 million)
Andrew Chafin (third, $1.945 million)
Caleb Joseph (fourth, $500,000)
Jake Lamb (third, $4.825 million)
David Peralta (third, $7 million)
Robbie Ray (third, $6.05 million)
Steven Souza Jr. (third, $4.125 million)
Taijuan Walker (fourth, $5.025 million)

Are there any non-tender candidates? When is that decision made?

The last two years have been tough for Lamb when it comes to health and production at the plate. He looked better at the plate as the 2019 season wound down, and tendering him will certainly be a tough call by the D-backs, who have other options at first and third base. Souza is another interesting case. He missed all of 2019 and a significant part of 2018. Arizona gave up a lot to get him from the Rays and the club certainly needs help in the outfield. Joseph will likely be non-tendered.

Teams must decide on Dec. 2 whether to tender a contract to any unsigned players on the 40-man roster. Arbitration-eligible players still in the fold will then exchange proposed salary figures with their team by Jan. 10. If necessary, arbitration hearings typically take place in late January or early February.

When are the GM Meetings and Winter Meetings this year?

The GM Meetings will take place from Nov. 11-14 in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Winter Meetings will be held from Dec. 9-12 in San Diego.

What will the D-backs’ priorities be this offseason in terms of acquisitions?

The D-backs will likely pursue outfield help during the offseason, and they will also look into adding depth to the bullpen. Arizona seems happy with the depth it has in its starting rotation and infield.

How will the D-backs go about addressing their needs?

We’ll let Hazen answer this one.

“We don’t know what the market is going to bring. We don’t know who is available on other teams,” Hazen said. “We are going to go into this offseason with intent on improving our roster any way that we can. How that takes shape, it’s hard to tell.”

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.