SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After taking over as D-backs general manager last October, Mike Hazen and his baseball operations staff took a long look at the organization and decided that the team's core deserved another shot at competing for the postseason rather than initiate a full-on rebuilding.How the D-backs perform in
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After taking over as D-backs general manager last October, Mike Hazen and his baseball operations staff took a long look at the organization and decided that the team's core deserved another shot at competing for the postseason rather than initiate a full-on rebuilding.
How the D-backs perform in the first few months of the 2017 season will likely determine whether they continue along that course or change directions.
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If the D-backs get off to a good start and are contenders come the non-waiver Trade Deadline, they believe that they have the money as well as the Minor League talent it would take to improve.
During their annual meeting with reporters this spring, managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall said the team has some flexibility in the budget.
"It's right around $102 million," Hall said of what the Opening Day payroll figured to be. "Obviously Ken's always been open, willing to listen to other needs and generous enough to stretch if need be. So, we're not where we'll necessary finish, but we're at a place where we do have flexibility to add if needed. Hopefully we're in that position."
While the D-backs' farm system has been thinned a bit in recent years, it does have some players who could interest other teams. Whether that's pitchers like Anthony Banda and Braden Shipley, or a shortstop like Jasrado Chisholm, there are some trade chips.
On the flip side, if the D-backs are out of the race come July, the organization might take a long look in the mirror and decide that it's time for more of a rebuild.
If they go in that direction, they have no shortage of players who could bring back a haul of prospects.
Those players could include outfielder A.J. Pollock or left-hander Patrick Corbin, who both could become free agents after the '18 season.
Of course, the player who would bring the most back in return is someone the organization would be loath to part with -- first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt, who is easily the face of the franchise, is owed $11 million in '18 with a team option of $14.5 million in '19, under the terms of a team-friendly contract extension he signed prior to the '13 season.
"I think any team, all teams, regardless, almost, of your economic circumstance, if the team does not perform well at the midseason, you ask, 'Are there moves that can be made that help our future by moving players from a contractual standpoint that may not be as attractive to our club as younger players might be?'" Kendrick said on the day of the team's first full-squad workout. "Trading more high-dollar guys for prospects is a standard in the industry. You kind of hope you're not in that place. I would hope we'll be in the opposite. We're prepared to act as needed if this team is competitive. If there's an opportunity to acquire a player in midseason, we want to be prepared to do that."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.