D-backs offseason FAQ: Financial flexibility?

November 1st, 2019

PHOENIX -- The D-backs will have some more flexibility this offseason than 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?

, and became free agents one day after the conclusion of the World Series.

Which players have contract options for 2020?

The D-backs held a $6 million option on infielder and a $1.85 million option on left-hander for 2020. The team declined both options and paid Flores a $500,000 buyout, and McFarland received a $50,000 buyout.

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, but there will be more money to spend 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, including what round of arbitration this will be for them and their 2019 salary:

(third time, $3.6625 million in 2019)
(second, $920,000)
(second, $1.83 million)
(third, $1.945 million)
(fourth, $500,000)
(third, $4.825 million)
(third, $7 million)
(third, $6.05 million)
(third, $4.125 million)
(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 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, as he missed all of 2019 and a significant part of 2018. Arizona gave up a lot to get him from Tampa Bay, 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, and they will also look into adding depth to the bullpen. Arizona seems happy with the depth it has in its 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,” he 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.”