The Diamondbacks expect to enter 2017 with approximately the same payroll level that they carried last year, GM Mike Hazen tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). With about $60MM in obligations and another $30MM or so in projected arbitration salaries, it wouldn’t appear that Arizona will have a lot of free cash to work with this winter after opening 2016 with just under $100MM on the books. While it’s always possible that trades could shift things around, indications from the front office are that players such as Zack Greinke, Paul Goldschmidt, and Yasmany Tomas aren’t likely to be moved. All said, then, the odds appear to favor a fairly quiet approach to the free agent market from the D-Backs.
Here’s more from the NL West:
- The Giants feel confident they will land one of the three major closers available in free agency this winter, a club official told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). We’ve already heard the team linked to Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon (who they met with today), though as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, the organization is considering alternatives as well. GM Bobby Evans called rehabbing righty Greg Holland a “very good option,” and there are always trade routes to consider. But the expectation has long been that San Francisco would go shopping on the open market to address the ninth inning, and the club seems a strong favorite to land one of those premium arms.
- Meanwhile, it’s rather unlikely that the Giants will make a splash at third base, Shea further reports. Evans left little doubt as to how the club sees things after already acquiring Eduardo Nunez over the summer. “You try to stay nimble and flexible,” Evans said. “If something comes along, you can always adjust. We’re very comfortable with Nuñez. He’s our third baseman.”
- Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi addressed his club’s decision today to ship Howie Kendrick to the Phillies, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. “Financial flexibility” was a motivating factor, he said, and the organization also liked the idea of adding Darin Ruf — who Zaidi said was pursued over the summer. Addressing second base, which Kendrick could conceivably have played, Zaidi noted that the Dodgers could go with players already on hand — Enrique Hernandez, Micah Johnson, and Chris Taylor — but added that there’s ample time “to bring in a more experienced player.” Free agent Chase Utley still seems an option, though Zaidi did not discuss him specifically, and there are certainly a variety of interesting trade candidates that might be considered. Kendrick had occupied left field in 2016 for Los Angeles, and his departure leaves an opening there, but Zaidi said that’s “not a position we are targeting right now.” He expressed confidence in existing players such as Andre Ethier, Andrew Toles, Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke in the corner outfield. Of course, right field is also up for grabs, though the team could yet rely on Yasiel Puig along with those other options.
- The idea of the Rockies bringing back Matt Holliday may not be an unreasonable one, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The veteran slugger has expressed interest in the concept, and Saunders notes that Holliday could see time both at first and in the outfield — which currently features three left-handed hitters.
- The Padres will look to make a few targeted veteran additions this winter, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune recently explored. GM A.J. Preller spoke of finding one or two “guys who have good makeup, guys who are in it for the team, guys who are willing to work, guys who aren’t selfish.” That could be outfielder Jon Jay, who the team is still interested in. Preller spoke highly of the versatile outfielder, but noted that preserving opportunities for a variety of younger players ill be a consideration “as we’re talking to Jon and determining an offer, the term and length.” Shortstop is perhaps a greater priority, with Preller noting that it’s “still an area we’re looking to address.” The team still isn’t sure whether Luis Sardinas is prepared to be an everyday player, Preller suggested. Jose Rondon will also receive consideration, but the organization certainly seems open to pursuing alternatives via trade or free agency.