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Knew there was something I meant to talk about. Specifically, this article in the Tribune, which reveals a lot of information about the previously-murky world of the Diamondbacks' finances. As generally suspected, the organization continues to shell out for the World Series triumph - or, as the piece puts it, are "still paying off Jerry Colangelo's credit card." Some key, mostly brutal, details from the piece follow:

  • The Diamondbacks lost $353m from their inaugural season of 1998 through the 2004 campaign. However, they made small profits (less than $10m) the past two season.
  • The club was responsible for $254m in deferred payments to 18 players, 15 of whom are no longer with the organization. [I'm guessing the others are Matt Williams, Jay Bell and @@@@@]
  • That list of deferees included the likes of Russ Springer, Omar Daal, Bernard Gilkey and Roberto Alomar.
  • Arizona still owes $98 million in deferred payments and $200 million in debt payments.
  • The Diamondbacks are paying $25 million to $30 million a year toward the deferred contracts, which includes 6 percent interest.
  • After that, we should be relatively debt-free in that area, and be able to put the money towards payroll.
  • Speaking of which, 2007 payroll: $60-65m. 2008: $65-70m. 2009: $70-75m.

And here's managing partner's Ken Kendrick's final quote on the topic:

The public wants three things. They want a team that wins, they want a fair price for their seats and they want well-priced concessions. I understand what they want. We're trying hard to give them all three of those things. But you can't turn a battleship around overnight. You just can't do it. The battleship was headed toward a cliff. We had to turn it around and get it going, It hasn't been easy. We've taken hits because we haven't won as much as people would like, but we're doing the best we can.

There's no doubt that this is a dagger aimed straight at the heart of Jerry Colangelo, who spent money like water, got the World Series, and they skipped out on the bill, smelling of roses. While I doubt many fans would be willing to give up the joy of our 2001 season, it came at a significant price, and it's important to realise what that is. That $25-30m we are paying out to ex-D'backs and even those no longer in the game at all, would get us an ace starter, as well as a top of the line slugging left-fielder. Make no mistake, Colangelo's free-spending ways are exactly the reason why Arizona is unable to pursue any of the top free agents this season.

The good news is, things should be just about cleared up, by the time the current crop of prospects reach free-agency in 2010 or thereafter. Of course, the current arterial spray of cash from unexpected sources, and to unexpected destinations (Kansas City? $55m? Gil Meche?), means that even with the additional $30m, our payroll could easily still be in the bottom-half of major-league teams. But, heck, not paying money to people who are out of the game will be a step forward. That, or Russ Ortiz. :-(

Speaking of tubs of lard, the Diamondbacks apparently enquired about David Wells. I can only presume the enquiry was Josh Byrnes saying something like, "Is that fat bastard still alive?" Because I see no reason why should even be thinking about spending the balance available to us, unless we're trying to get our starting rotation ready for the World Series of Competitive Eating. Add Wells to the roster, and the buffet table at Chase Field will look like feeding time at the walrus enclosure. Juan Cruz would probably get used as a toothpick. ;-) Fortunately, that's got about as much chance of happening, as of Russ Ortiz getting any kind of contract offer from one of our NL West riva... Er, best strike that, I guess.