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Diamondbacks Spring Training Day 1

Payroll info , interviews and notes

With the new CBA signed, sealed, and delivered last night, today was the first day of workouts for Diamondbacks Major League 40 man roster players. While not all players are in camp, the ones that were here are a sight for sore eyes. Here are just a few clips and pics from the morning.

PAYROLL NOTES:

As the Diamondbacks baseball operations department launches into this super compressed window to complete their roster, it appears they have approximately $10M to $20M to work with.

Yesterday Derrick Hall said that he expected the payroll to be anywhere from over 90M to possibly as much as 105M. I reached out and asked for clarification if that was payout this year, or the number that is used for the CBT. It’s notable the CBT number includes things like player benefits (insurance, etc) and bonuses, but also uses the Average Annual salary for multiyear contracts, not necessarily the amount paid within that calendar year. In other words there are two different numbers. The numbers we usually see in the public domain are just the straight salary numbers and not the final CBT number.

Derrick responded to my question by answering the 90-105 figure he gave was :

“all in spend including insurance, benefits, DL, etc. we are at about $85-90 now”

With that info I am able to figure out where they are and come up with the 10-20M available number above.

Notes:

a. It’s not clear of course if they count all of Bumgarner’s 23M, as 5M is deferred , however it’s believed that money must still be specially funded, so it’s included here

b. There are 19 players listed here. The minimum then required to fill out a 26 man roster would be 7M players at league minimum. Of course if they sign or trade for a player that takes a 26M roster spot, the this number goes down 700K accordingly.

c. DL call ups happen. Those players get prorated minimum MLB salary for days on active roster. 40 man roster players are also paid a minimum minor league salary of $57,200 for first-year players; $114,100 for those after. So roughly $5M is accounted for in these two categories

PAYROLL SUMMARY:

Based on this accounting and Hall’s comments the absolute upper reaches of flexibility Mike Hazen has is then $20M (The difference between approximately $85M and $105M). However it’s also just as likely they are really closer to $90M already committed and they’ll cap it at $100M, meaning Hazen would only have $10M to spend. So that’s your range.

It’s not a lot. As recently as 2018 the “all in” number for all player expenses was as high as $158M. But in 12 of the 16 seasons since 2005 the D-Backs have lagged the league average spending on player expenses as a percentage of revenue. (see below) Two years they were above it, (2014 & 2018) and two years just slightly below average (2013 & 2019).

There has been a major pullback since the payroll heights of 2018, and it can’t all be blamed on the Pandemic. While I greatly appreciate Derricks transparency, and this is more or less what we’ve expected for a long time, the 90-105M figure is still a bit disappointing.

(Green is DBacks, Black is MLB Avg)

SOURCE

PLAYER INTERVIEWS:

We got to speak with Josh Rojas and Carson Kelly today. Both players echoed the sentiment that when the lockout first began they were of the mind of just end it quickly and “I’ll take whatever”. But as they became more educated on how things really worked, they expressed a greater understanding and also gratitude towards some of the senior union members for leading, educating and unifying them.

Rojas addressed the rule changes coming next year, stating he didn’t mind the pitch clock and that when he played with one in AA the players got used to it very quickly. He didn’t sound crazy about banning the shift.

He also talked about his off season shoulder surgery, stating that he had a fairly significant “cleanup” as he was bone on bone. He had pain at the end of last year and it definitely affected his power output. But he feels great now, free and easy.

Kelly also said that he feels great, the wrist and toe injuries from last year don’t bother him at all.

JOSH ROJAS INTERVIEW AUDIO

CARSON KELLY INTERVIEW AUDIO

PAVIN SMITH

I also had an informal chat with Pavin along with another writer. He looked a little bigger and more filled out. Hopefully that means more power too ! He was excited to be in camp of course, big smiles all around.