What are the biggest contract questions facing the D-backs this offseason?
-- Mark K., Phoenix
The first one the D-backs will deal with is the club option on Wilmer Flores for 2020. Flores made $4.25 million last year, and the team holds a $6 million option for him for next season with a $500,000 buyout if it chooses not to exercise the option. It has to make a decision on that by five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
Finally, the D-backs will have to decide if there are any current players they want to try to sign to contract extensions. The most likely candidate would seem to be shortstop Nick Ahmed, who is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. But whether they would be willing to pay what he thinks he is worth remains to be seen. Lefty Robbie Ray, also eligible for free agency after 2020, could be a possibility, but would likely be pretty expensive.
Is there any chance that Seth Beer and Corbin Martin make their D-backs debuts next year? If not, when do you think they’ll come up?
-- Aric, Tempe, Ariz.
I think there’s a possibility you could see them both at some point. The main focus now, though, is getting their No. 12 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, Martin healthy as he is coming off Tommy John surgery performed last July. While the D-backs like all four of the players they got from the Astros for Zack Greinke, Martin is a guy that they prized for a few years before finally getting him. They will be very careful in bringing him back from surgery, so we’ll have to see how that goes before we make any predictions on timetables.
As for the D-backs' No. 4 prospect Beer, he’s having an excellent Arizona Fall League season. He is someone who certainly could see some time in the big leagues next year depending on what position he lands at and what the Major League club’s needs are.
What's the plan for Yasmany Tomas and his $17 million that he's owed next season? Let him play it out in the Majors? Or just eat it and be done with him?
-- Grant, Scottsdale, Ariz.
I’m not sure that 2020 will much different for him than ‘19 was. The D-backs still have real concerns about his defensive ability, and they don’t appear comfortable playing him in the outfield or first base in the big leagues on a regular basis. If they were to try and trade him, they would have to eat most -- if not all -- the money owed him. Unless they do that or decide to release him, he very likely could be back at Triple-A Reno again next year.
[D-backs general manager Mike] Hazen seems set on adding complementary pieces to the very pedestrian offense, but also seems intent on doing so from within the organization. Are there any external options that make sense? I wonder basically the same thing about the pitching staff.
-- PJ (only D-backs fan) in Goshen, Ind.
I think it’s really hard to predict what Hazen is going to do, even for those of us who talk to him on a regular basis. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that he is tight-lipped when it comes to player personnel moves, and the second is that he is always open to exploring options, some of which are not obvious at first.
Take this year’s Trade Deadline as an example. Few people thought a Greinke trade was possible given the contract situation. We were all focused more on them trading Ray.
Also, while teams are generally considered either buyers or sellers at the deadline, Hazen found a way to do both. He sold Greinke, bought when he acquired righty Zac Gallen from the Marlins for prospect Jazz Chisholm and bought when he picked up veteran Mike Leake from the Mariners.
The one thing I will predict with absolute certainty is that Hazen will look at all avenues to try and acquire help for the offense and back-end bullpen help.