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D-backs Open To Further Payroll Increase At Trade Deadline


The Diamondbacks enter the season with an approximate payroll of $168MM (per RosterResource), shattering their prior franchise record of about $131MM. And while Arizona is among the many clubs to have been impacted by the recent bankruptcy filing of Diamond Sports Group, it doesn’t sound like concerns regarding the television outlook will prevent the club from adding further, if needed. Managing partner Ken Kendrick tells Theo Mackie of the Arizona Republic that he’s “absolutely” willing to green-light further expenditures if needs arise prior to the summer trade deadline.

From a luxury tax standpoint, Arizona sits at a projected $216MM — about $21MM shy of the first-tier threshold. They shouldn’t have many, if any, limitations with regard to the competitive balance tax, as it’s quite rare for any team to take on that much prorated annual value at the deadline. Kendrick pointed to his team’s 2017 acquisition of J.D. Martinez as a prior example of an aggressive deadline approach and said he’ll be “prepared to do that yet again” if the right player is available this July.

Kendrick didn’t delve into this aspect of deadline shopping, but Arizona’s payroll is also well-positioned from a long-term standpoint. The Diamondbacks shouldn’t have an issues adding a player who is signed or arb-eligible beyond the current season. In fact, it could be argued they’d be wise to target such players, given the slate of high-profile free agents the D-backs have at season’s end. First baseman Christian Walker, closer Paul Sewald and left-hander Jordan Montgomery are all slated to hit free agency. Designated hitter Joc Pederson has a mutual option, as do reliever Scott McGough and outfielder Randal Grichuk. Mutual options are almost never exercised, so they’ll all likely hit the market, too.

That large slate of names coming off the books leaves the Diamondbacks with just $63.5MM on next year’s books, per RosterResource. That’ll jump when Kelly’s $7MM club option is picked up and when Gallen receives a hefty raise on this year’s $10.011MM salary in arbitration. But the rest of the D-backs’ arb class consists of middle relievers and first-time eligible players, meaning it shouldn’t be overly expensive. Ryan Thompson, Kevin Ginkel, Joe Mantiply, Ryne Nelson, Geraldo Perdomo and Alek Thomas make up the rest of the class. Given this year’s new highwater mark and the comparatively minimal commitments on the docket in 2025, the Diamondbacks could add a player on a notable contract.

When we’re this far from the deadline, there’s no telling what exactly the Diamondbacks will be targeting — outside of bullpen help. That’s not a knock on Arizona’s relief corps, but rather just an observation that virtually every contending club shops around to deepen its bullpen at the deadline. The D-backs’ lineup is quite deep and largely set with established players. In the rotation, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to miss about a month with a lat strain and the aforementioned Montgomery is ramping up down in the minors. Once they’re both active, they’ll join Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt in what should be one of the most talented rotations in the game.

Injuries can quickly change that calculus and necessitate short-term acquisitions. Kendrick’s comments suggest he’ll be willing to be flexible in allowing GM Mike Hazen and his staff when they look to fortify a roster that hopes for another deep postseason run.

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