Dates, decisions: D-backs offseason FAQ
Who are the D-backs' free agents? Who has contract options for 2021? Might any salary-arbitration-eligible players be non-tendered this winter?
We know you have questions about the D-backs this offseason, and we tried our best to provide answers:
Which players are free agents?
Yasmany Tomás is the D-backs' lone free agent this offseason. It is no doubt a huge relief for the team to finally be out from under the contract, which was a six-year, $68.5 million deal. Tomás exercised a pair of player options for 2019 and '20, which were for $15.5 million and $17 million, though the latter figure was prorated due to the shortened season.
Which players had contract options for 2021?
• RHP Junior Guerra -- $3.5 million with a $100,000 buyout
• RHP Merrill Kelly -- $4.25 million with a $500,000 buyout
• RHP Mike Leake -- $18 million with a $5 million buyout
• RHP Héctor Rondón -- $4 million with a $500,000 buyout
• C Stephen Vogt -- $4 million, which already vested for 2021
The D-backs picked up the option on Kelly. He is expected to be ready to go when Spring Training rolls around next year after having thoracic outlet surgery in September. He was having a very good 2020 before his injury.
Guerra, Leake and Rondón's options were not be picked up. Rondón struggled in 2020, and with an uncertain market this winter, there could be plenty of relievers on the market after the Dec. 2 non-tender deadline. Leake’s $5 million buyout will be paid for by the Mariners as part of the trade between the two teams at the 2019 Trade Deadline. Guerra pitched fairly well in the shortened '20 season, but the D-backs still declined his option.
Who is eligible for salary arbitration?
Right-hander Silvino Bracho, catcher Carson Kelly, left-hander Caleb Smith and right-hander Luke Weaver.
Are any of them candidates to be non-tendered?
Bracho would likely be the only one, given that he’s missed a year and half due to Tommy John surgery. He is well regarded by the organization, however, and Arizona could look to re-sign him at a lower amount after non-tendering him.
With Tomas’ contract off the books along with those of Robbie Ray, Jake Lamb, Archie Bradley and Leake, will the D-backs have a lot of money to spend in this offseason?
While the D-backs do get some salary relief, there are a few things to keep in mind before assuming they will have a lot of money to spend.
The organization doesn't know whether fans will be allowed in the stands yet for 2021, so it is hard to project what revenues will look like. Until the D-backs have a little better feel for that, it makes it challenging for them to count on a revenue figure.
The D-backs' payroll was around $120 million back in March, and team president/CEO Derrick Hall said recently that it would be “far-fetched” to think the 2021 payroll would be that high given all the financial losses this year and uncertainty for next.
Some players already on the roster will eat up some of the money being saved by the expiring contracts. Just one example is left-hander Madison Bumgarner. He backloaded his contract and was set to receive just $6 million in 2020 (which turned out to be less as it was prorated) so that the D-backs could have more financial flexibility. Next year his salary jumps to $19 million.
What area(s) might they look to improve in 2021?
The D-backs figure to do something with their offense. How much they change it is uncertain, but they will likely look to add some right-handed hitting to give manager Torey Lovullo more options with his lineups and also to help improve the team’s record against left-handed starting pitchers.
The bullpen will need to be reworked, and it’s possible they could look to add some starting-pitching depth, though that seems to be further down on the list than the other two needs.