Who are the 6 highest paid Diamondbacks & Who should be traded?

Arizona Diamondbacks New Uniform
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No surprise that Ketel Marte is the 2nd highest paid Diamondback. He is the only Diamondback with a guaranteed salary past the 2025 season. He is essentially the model contract for the Diamondbacks who operate like a small to the mid-market level club. He is signed for the current season at a below-market rate of $8.4MM, $11.6MM next season, $13.6MM in 2024, $16.6MM in both 25 and 26, and $14.6MM in 2027. 2028 has a $13MM team option or a $3MM buyout. But there is a wrinkle in his contract from 2023 to 2028. If Marte finishes in the top 7 in the MVP voting for the prior year, then the following year's salary increases. I love a base contract with incentives, especially an incentive that helps the club.

Ketel Marte
Arizona Diamondbacks v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Who is Ketel Marte? He is the ultimate hometown discount player. He delivers above-average results on the field and has a below-average contract. In his 5 previous years with this being his 6th year in Arizona he has accumulated a total of 16.3 WAR. He has been an All-Star; he was 4th in the MVP voting in 2019 and in 2018 he led the majors in triples. 

He has also done anything the team has asked in order to help the team. He has played second base, short stop and center field. At no position has he gone lower than a .991 season fielding percentage while in his 8 year playing career (two with Seattle) he has only earned $23.5MM. Every team manager, general manager and team mate would love to have a Ketel Marte on their team, and as a Diamondback fan, I am glad he is on this team.

This brings us to the highest-paid player for the 2022 season in Madison Bumgarner. There is a $14.6MM dollar difference in the salary paid to Marte and the $23MM salary paid to MadBum. He was signed to a 5-year contract back in 2020 that will pay him $23MM this season and next season and $14MM in 2024, with no buyouts, no incentives. 

Madison Bumgarner
Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Who is Madison Bumgarner? He is a 32-year-old pitcher who is past his prime, who is still being paid like he is in his prime. He has not had a winning season since 2016 which was also the last time, he had double-digit victories in a season. So far this season, he has given the Diamondbacks 2 victories in 12 starts. This season he has almost as many hits as innings pitched 59.1 to 55. He barely has a 2 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio with 41 and 20. His ERA is 3.64 the league is batting .240 against him with a WAR of 0.7. Lastly, the average major league pitcher gives up a hard-hit rate of 38.7% and MadBum gives up a hard-hit rate of 46.0%.

Which of these players should they trade and why? Kelly is a keeper, a steady force in your rotation, below-market contract, great clubhouse guy. Melancon, you hang onto him and hope for the contract that you signed him to, he is able to revert to his career numbers. Peralta is a definite trade candidate. Tons of cheaper talent behind him, and the only way you are going to find out if that talent is better, is if you let them play. Ahmed, you are stuck with a terrible contract and a bum shoulder. Great guy, bad contract, worse situation. Marte is another keeper. He is the leader of this team, at least on offense. Can't say enough good things about his make-up and how fun he is to watch every night. MadBum is the interesting one. A big contract that you would like to get out from under, but you are not going to get much for him unless you agree to pay some of his contract or include one of your better prospects in a trade. Then you have the leadership qualities and veteran leadership to consider. I don't think he is worth the money; I try to trade him knowing it will be difficult.