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2017 Arizona Diamondbacks Payroll

With arbitration estimates now available, we can take a stab at putting together a 2017 Opening Day payroll, and where the team might be spending over the winter.

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Under contract
  • Zack Greinke*: $24 million
  • Yasmany Tomas: $9.5 million
  • Paul Goldschmidt: $8.88 million
  • A.J. Pollock: $6.75 million

* - The amount for Greinke is his actual cost in 2016. It therefore includes the annual $3m installment for his signing bonus, but does not include the $10m which is deferred forward.

TOTAL = $49.13 million

Arbitration estimates from MLB Trade Rumors
  • Jean Segura – $7.3 million
  • Welington Castillo – $5.9 million
  • Shelby Miller – $4.9 million
  • Patrick Corbin – $4.2 million
  • Rubby De La Rosa – $3.0 million
  • Chris Owings – $2.1 million
  • Randall Delgado – $1.9 million
  • Chris Herrmann – $1.0 million
  • Tuffy Gosewisch – $600,000

I'm not sure what the team will do with Tuffy, since I can't see us carrying Castillo, Herrmann and Gosewisch on an everyday basis. He's a potential DFA candidate perhaps, and you have to wonder if De La Rosa might go the same way, should his health ends up being as problematic as many fear.

TOTAL = $30.9 million

The math

Adding the above categories together, gives us fractionally above $80 million for 13 players. Filling out the rest of the roster with a dozen players at league minimum would take us to about $87 million. That's a lower figure than that of $101.7 million currently presented for 2017 at Baseball-Reference.com, mostly because they include the entire $34 million for Greinke. They also use a higher figure of about $800K for roster filler; I don't see many on the D-backs getting significantly above league minimum, which will be around about $520K next year. The Tuffy question doesn't matter much, because the difference between his projected arb salary and league minimum is only $80K.

One positive aspect is that the Diamondbacks are all but untroubled by free agency this winter. The only player on the end-of-season roster to be eligible, and thus who needs to be re-signed or replaced, will be Daniel Hudson. It seems likely that most of the remaining resources will go towards strengthening the D-backs bullpen. Assuming a payroll round about the $100 million mark, this means the new General Manager will have around $15 million to spend (a bit more than the flat $13m gap, because each player signed will replace one costing league minimum). I would think this should mean the team signing at least two, if not three, free-agent relievers.

Potential bullpen arms

While the free-agent market in 2017 is light on starters, there is no shortage of potential relief candidates. There are big name closers including Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Francisco Rodriguez. But I'd rather see the team seeking better value, by spending money on good relievers who don't have those shiny save numbers. They did that last year with Tyler Clippard, who put up a 123 ERA+ between here and the Yankees, at a relatively restrained cost. There are a number of less well-known relief pitchers this season, who had sub-three ERAs and might be worth a look as cheaper alternates, such as Carlos Torres, Dustin McGowan or - here's a thought! - Trevor Cahill.

I would certainly want to see us make a solid pitch to re-sign Daniel Hudson, who seemed to recover his mojo in the final couple of months. As we all know, he has very strong ties to the team and the area. While I certainly wouldn't want the team to use that as an excuse to low-ball Huddy, I think given comparable offers here and somewhere else, he'd take Arizona's. It may be a little harder to re-sign Brad Ziegler back to the desert. He seems to have been very happy in Boston, and after another brilliant season, with an ERA+ of 200, is likely going to be among the elite arms, so will be paid like it (deservedly so, I might add).

Conclusions

Financially, 2017 doesn't look like it's going to be too bad for the Diamondbacks. But there are clouds lurking on the horizon. B-R.com currently projects a 2018 payroll of over $134 million, and even if we discount $10m for the Grienke situation, I'm not certain Kendrick and company will feel up to that. The increased TV money should help, but we will also have to deal with replacing Castillo, who will be a free-agent at the end of next year. We'll see if the team looks to address that potential situation this winter, or if they're willing to defer it until the 2017-18 off-season.