D-backs' payroll expected to increase
Club foresees flexibility to make moves during offseason
PHOENIX -- The D-backs' payroll likely will rise in 2010 to north of $75 million when all is said and done, an increase over the approximately $73 million it was last season, managing general partner Ken Kendrick said.
That does not, however, mean that general manager Josh Byrnes will approach the start of the free-agent season later this week with a blank check.
"We don't have an enormous war chest," Kendrick said. "But we will be spending more money on the Major League team this coming year than we did last year."
It appears Byrnes began the offseason with around $20 million to spend and the picking up of ace pitcher Brandon Webb's $8.5 million contract option knocked it down into the low teens.
"We definitely have more than $10 million to spend in the market," Kendrick said. "There are other moves that we may make that could change the money landscape that have yet to be determined."
Kendrick declined to get into what specific moves would change the money the team has to spend, but it would seem that two possibilities could be if the team moves catcher Chris Snyder and the $4.75 million he is owed for next year and/or outfielder Eric Byrnes, who is set to make $11 million in 2010. To trade Byrnes, the team would likely need to pick up a good chunk of that $11 million, but it might be able to save a little.
A last-place finish in 2009 and tough economic conditions which led to a drop in attendance has not dissuaded the team's ownership group from increasing its financial commitment. It's also worth noting that the team will spend around $14 million on deferred salaries from earlier this decade in 2010. That $14 million is on top of the more than $75 million that will be spent on salaries.
The D-backs are looking to add a No. 4 starter, a late-inning reliever and a veteran position player to the roster this offseason. The club can officially begin talking to free agents from other teams beginning at 10:01 p.m. MT on Thursday night.
A bullpen arm is more likely to come via free agency, while the team's other two needs could come that way or through a trade.
"I think the free agency class is probably not as strong overall as it has been in some years, so we're competing for fewer players," Kendrick said. "We have some flexibility to make some moves."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.