As we head into the 2015 season, one thing that every team is talking about is their financial situation, and the payroll for the upcoming year.
In 2014, the Diamondbacks had a record high payroll of $112,315,500, which ended up being the 12th highest payroll in all of baseball. After the team signed veteran pitcher Bronson Arroyo late in the off-season, Arizona had complied the most expensive group of players in franchise history, and with a high payroll comes high expectations.
In order to be profitable with such a high payroll, the Dbacks would have to contend. It didn’t quite work out that way as we all know. Everything seemed to go wrong from day 1 especially on the health front, and the team finished with the worst record in all of baseball. So the team with a new front office is taking a different approach.
Early in the off-season, Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said his team’s payroll wouldn’t exceed the $100 million dollar mark for 2015, and barring any big impact signings before the season starts, the Dbacks are well on their way to accomplishing that goal. The Dbacks payroll might not even reach the $90 million mark.
A few days ago, Diamondbacks General Manager Dave Stewart told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that he is comfortable with a payroll in the $91.5 million range, and there is a chance that other salary shedding moves will be made:
"“Probably,” Stewart said when asked if there were moves he could make. “I can’t say for sure. I don’t know what the other teams are going to be thinking about, but I’ve got to think that probably if we need to do something, that there will be some opportunities at this point. I don’t know if that’s going to be sooner or later, but we’ll have time to adjust to that and make decisions on that.”"
Right now, I could easily see the Dbacks payroll being below the $90 million mark even if they don’t make any further moves. Its time to look at the roster, and project what we think the payroll will look like come Opening Day.
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The Dbacks currently have 14 players that have guaranteed base salary’s and signing bonuses for 2015. Here is who has their salary already figured out and what they will make courtesy of spotrac.com:
As it currently sits right now, the Diamondbacks have $71,683,333 in committed salary for the 2015 season. Thanks to team friendly contracts for Paul Goldschmidt, and Yasmany Tomas, the Dbacks have a lot of financial flexibility. Goldschmidt who signed a five year contract extension worth $32 million in March of 2013, is only making $3 million this season, and Tomas who signed with the Dbacks this winter for $68 million over six years is making $5 million this season.
Both of those deals are back heavy. Unfortunately for the Dbacks, the same can not be said for veterans Trevor Cahill, and Aaron Hill who are both making $12 million this season, and are declining in performance.
The Diamondbacks still have to decide Addison Reed, and Mark Trumbo‘s 2015 salaries by going through the arbitration process unless the two sides can reach a deal before the arbitration hearings which begin next month.
If we go by MLB Trade Rumors projections which is what most people look at, then Reed will make $3.8 million in 2015, and Trumbo will make $5.7 million. If my math is correct (and it isn’t always), that’s an extra $9.5 million added to the payroll which would bring the total payroll to $84.2 million.
Pr-Arbitration Eligible Players
The fun doesn’t end there though. Major-league clubs still have to pay their per-arbitration players.
According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Dbacks have 24 players that are pre-arbitration eligible. Four of those guys have 2 plus years of major league service which means they probably will make above the league minimum, and the rest have 1 year or less of service time.
While different clubs have different ways of doing it, usually players that aren’t eligible for arbitration have to be paid at least the major-league minimum with a few raises here in there. I highly doubt that Patrick Corbin, Ender Inciarte, Jake Lamb, Randell Delgado, and Chris Owings will make the minimum amount of salary. However, I’m not going to guess everybody’s salary, so for the purposes of this article I’m going to assume that every pre-arbitration guy will make the minimum salary of 507,500.
However, in order to earn the league minimum, a player must spend a full season in the majors. I’m sure some of these players including Will Locante, Robbie Ray, and A.J. Schugel wont spend the whole year with the Dbacks, but the majority of the guys will. So, I’m not going to try to predict. I’m assuming that all 24 guys will be payed the minimum.
That would raise the total payroll to somewhere in the $96 million dollar range. Again, 9 of the players that I assumed would make the minimum probably wont be on the MLB roster for the whole year which means they will make a minor league salary based on how many years they have been on the 40 man roster. Taking those 9 players off would reduce the payroll by $4 million plus not counting minor league salaries.
So that would put the Dbacks payroll right in the $92 million dollar range which is right around where Stewart wants it.
Projected 2015 Payroll: $92.5 million