Arizona Diamondbacks: Contracts and Financial Overview

2011 payroll: $53,489,833

Breakdown:

Free Agent-eligible

J.J. Putz: $4,000,000
Melvin Mora: $2,350,000
Aaron Heilman: $2,000,000
Xavier Nady: $1,750,000
Geoff Blum: $1,350,000
Henry Blanco: $1,000,000
Willie Bloomquist: $750,000
Sean Burroughs*+: $419,500
Micah Owings*+: $419,500
Josh Wilson+: $725,000

*Non-tendered with less than 6 years of major-league service.
+Minor-league deal.

J.J. Putz is the highest-paid free agent on their roster, but only the 6th highest-paid player overall. He was the Diamondbacks' biggest acquisition this past winter in an effort to shore up their league-worst 2010 bullpen. He's owed $4.5 million in 2012 and a $1.5 million buyout on a club option for 2013 (option salary: $6.5 million). Mora, Heilman, Nady, Blanco, and Bloomquist all signed 1-year deals with Arizona over the winter. Nady's deal includes $1 million in roster bonuses, all of which will trigger if he spends 120 days on the active roster.

The Blanco and Bloomquist deals both include mutual options for 2012, Blanco's worth $1.15 million with a $250,000 buyout and Bloomquist's worth $1.1 million with a $150,000 buyout. Blum's deal was a 2-year pact that pays him $1.35 million in both 2011 and 2012. Burroughs hadn't played in the majors since 2006, but the Diamondbacks signed him to a minor-league deal and recently added him to their active roster.

Micah Owings signed with Arizona--the team that originally drafted him--as a minor-league free agent in the offseason and was added to their active roster a few days ago. Josh Wilson was signed to a minor-league deal at the beginning of the season after being released by Seattle. He's owed a pro-rated portion of $725,000 for the time he spends in the majors and was activated on April 25th.

Arbitration-eligible

Kelly Johnson: $5,850,000
Joe Saunders: $5,500,000
Chris Young: $5,200,000
Stephen Drew: $4,650,000
Justin Upton: $4,458,333
Zach Duke: $3,500,000
Miguel Montero: $3,200,000

Kelly Johnson was non-tendered with Atlanta after a sub-par 2009 season, but exploded in 2010 after signing with the Diamondbacks as a free agent, hitting .284 with a .370 on-base average and 26 home runs. He is currently the Diamondbacks' highest paid player and is eligible for free agency after the season. Saunders was acquired in the Dan Haren trade and is under team control through the 2012 season as an arbitration-eligible player. Though he might be a non-tender candidate on many teams, someone has to pitch every five days and the Diamondbacks like his make-up. Chris Young signed a 5-year, $28 million contract extension in April of 2008. The deal buys out his first free agent year (2013) and gives the Diamondbacks a club option worth $11 million with a $1.5 million buyout for his second.

Stephen Drew signed a 2-year, $15.75 million contract that buys out his final two years of arbitration (2011 and 2012) and includes a $10 million mutual option with a $1.35 million buyout for his first free agent year. Drew is represented by Scott Boras, so his side figures to decline their side of the mutual option if they feel like they can do better on the open market, as they should be able to. Justin Upton signed a 6-year, $51.25 million contract in March of 2010, buying out all of his arbitration years and two free agent years. He can't be traded to Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, or Oakland without his permission.

Duke was acquired by Arizona in November of 2010 and signed a 1-year, $4.25 million deal to avoid arbitration shortly thereafter. The deal includes a $5.5 million club option with a $750,000 buyout for 2012, what would be Duke's first year of free agency. Miguel Montero signed a $3.2 million deal avoiding arbitration this past offseason. He remains under team control through the 2012 season as an arbitration-eligible player.

The Diamondbacks didn't take any players to arbitration this year, settling on contracts before the hearing in every case.

Pre-arbitration-eligible

Juan Gutierrez: $430,500
Gerardo Parra: $426,000
David Hernandez: $423,500
Ryan Roberts: $423,500
Ian Kennedy: $423,000
Juan Miranda: $420,000
Daniel Hudson: $419,500
Barry Enright: $419,500
Sam Demel: $419,500
Kam Mickolio: $419,500
Joe Paterson: $419,500
Josh Collmenter: $419,500
Esmerling Vasquez: $419,500

Arizona's two most important pre-arb players are starters Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy, both of whom were acquired in trades. They also have some key bullpen arms who aren't yet eligible for arbitration: David Hernandez, Juan Gutierrez, Sam Demel, and Esmerling Vasquez. Gutierrez is their only lock to be a first time arb-eligible player in 2012, while Ian Kennedy and Ryan Roberts could be arbitration-eligible as super 2's.

Commitments to former players

Chris Snyder: $3,000,000
Russell Branyan: $1,000,000

The Diamondbacks shipped $3 million to the Pirates when they dealt Chris Snyder last season, bringing their 2011 payroll to $56,489,833. Branyan was released earlier this month.

2012 Contracts

The Diamondbacks have $28,908,000 guaranteed to players in 2012, most of which goes to Chris Young, Stephen Drew, Justin Upton, and J.J. Putz. Geoff Blum and the buyouts of options for Zach Duke, Henry Blanco, and Willie Bloomquist make up the rest of that figure. If they keep Joe Saunders around he'll make a good bit of money via the arbitration process, as will Miguel Montero. Josh Wilson, Sean Burroughs, Micah Owings, Juan Gutierrez, and maybe Ian Kennedy and David Hernandez are their only other arbitration-eligible players.

Kelly Johnson, Melvin Mora, Aaron Heilman, and Xavier Nady are all scheduled to hit free agency. Johnson is their starting second baseman and is having a poor year. They'll have the money to bring him back if they choose, but may opt to go in a different direction. Mora, Nady, and Heilman are all more or less role-players.

Summary

The Diamondbacks will have a good bit of financial flexibility in the coming offseason, though much of it might go to signing draft picks as they're slated to select both 3rd and 7th in the upcoming June rule 4 draft. The latter is unprotected, meaning if they fail to sign the player they select there's no compensation, so they'll have to be safer with that one than they are with the #3 overall pick. This is a great year to have two top-7 picks, with a lot of talent towards the top end and no huge drop off after the first pick or two, so the Diamondbacks have a chance to really revamp their system through the draft.

Speaking of which, it currently features a pair of high-grade pitching prospects, Jarrod Parker and Tyler Skaggs, who should eventually complement Hudson and Kennedy in the rotation, forming a pretty solid group. Beyond that there are some very interesting position players, including first baseman Paul Goldschmidt who hit .314 with 35 home runs in the Class A Advanced California League last year and is currently sitting on .333 with 15 homers in 43 games for AA Mobile. Brandon Allen is an interesting post-prospect who might be able to serve as an adequate fill-in at 1B until Goldschmidt arrives.

However, with Drew, Johnson, and Montero slated to leave by 2013 there doesn't seem to be a clear path to contention for this club. Losing three above-average, up-the-middle players really hurts a team. Some savvy trades could fill in the holes left by the departure of these players, but the most important thing for the future of this franchise is to really nail this year's draft. There isn't a better way to add impact, cost-controlled talent.

See also: Cot's Baseball Contracts: Arizona Diamondbacks

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