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D-backs, Stewart comfortable with $91.5 million payroll

PHOENIX -- With a little more than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, D-backs general manager Dave Stewart says his team's payroll is at $91.5 million, a number the club is comfortable with maintaining.

That figure could go up a bit depending on what happens with Arizona's arbitration cases with outfielder Mark Trumbo and closer Addison Reed.

Previously, Stewart had estimated the payroll would be much higher, but that was when he thought the $16 million to sign Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez -- a signing bonus of more than $8 million, plus the 100 percent tax on that amount for going over their international signing cap -- would count against the 2015 payroll.

"I'm finding out that number does not officially affect our Major League budget," Stewart said.

It is possible the D-backs could further shed some salary from their books before the start of Spring Training that would bring the Opening Day payroll below $90 million.

"Probably," Stewart said when asked if there were moves he could make. "I can't say for sure. I don't know what the other teams are going to be thinking about, but I've got to think that probably if we need to do something, that there will be some opportunities at this point. I don't know if that's going to be sooner or later, but we'll have time to adjust to that and make decisions on that."

That would probably involve moving players such as right-hander Trevor Cahill, who is owed $12 million for 2015, or outfielder Cody Ross, who is set to make $8.5 million this year. In order to trade either of those players, the D-backs would likely have to pay almost all of the money owed, but they could possibly save a couple of million dollars in the process.

Stewart, though, said reducing the payroll at this point is not a priority.

"I have not been asked to do that," Stewart said. "No one has given me that direction. No one has told me that before the season starts, 'You need to cut payroll.' No one has told me that before the All-Star break, 'You need to cut payroll.' Nobody said that. We're not going to hurt ourselves and not give ourselves an opportunity to win as many games as we can to try to get guys off the books."

But neither are they looking to add significant payroll at this point, which is why Stewart said last week that the club was no longer in the running for free-agent right-hander James Shields.

"The market has changed, and we thought it would and knew it would once [Max] Scherzer came out," Stewart said. "We tried hard."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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