What Can the Arizona Diamondbacks Afford in Free Agency?

By Chuck Jackson
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Can the Arizona Diamondbacks really afford a $20 million/year player? What about two of them? The numbers tell us how much the team can afford.

After my colleagues Charles and Tom wrote about whether the Diamondbacks are cheap or not a couple of days ago, I wanted to take a deeper view into what they could really buy in free agency. I have heard a lot of fans talk about the Diamondbacks signing a couple stud starting pitchers like David Price and Johnny Cueto. I keep hearing about how the Diamondbacks need to return to their winning ways like when Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling would pitch almost 70 games a year.

But how reasonable is it in today’s game?

Sure, there is inflation of salaries. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) made sure of that. Anyone who follows baseball has heard the name of super agent extraordinaire Scott Boras and his ability to get his players larger than expected contracts each off-season. But Major League Baseball has massive local, regional, and national television and sponsorship contracts that allow huge amounts of money to go to lower spending clubs via revenue sharing. Not to mention the luxury tax that the biggest market teams seem more willing to pay each year that goes by.

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The numbers are sometimes difficult to find. Most of the numbers are estimates that sites like Fangraphs, ESPN, SI.com, Sportac, and Deadspin put together based on huge amounts of public data. These numbers may be very close to the actual numbers, but rarely are they perfectly accurate. These estimates do, however, give us a very good baseline and allow us to reasonably judge what kind of money a team can spend each year.