On the strength of three consecutive winning seasons and an aggressive offseason, the Diamondbacks were a trendy playoff pick and even a dark-horse NL pennant contender last spring, but things didn’t at all go to plan. The D’Backs have a 24-35 record, and tonight’s loss to the Rockies ensured that Arizona will finish last in the NL West for the first time since 2014.
It was “a disappointing season, obviously, for everybody” in the organization, team president and CEO Derrick Hall told The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan and other reporters. How the D’Backs will regroup for 2021 is still up in the air, and it is quite possible “the uncertainty of this upcoming season” means that the club might just decide to run things back as best as possible next year.
“I would never say never, but I have had no indication that anyone wants to make changes as a result of this year,” Hall said. “I also think it’s so difficult to judge the performance of either leadership or the majority of the players in such a short and strange season. It may not have worked out well for us, and I think there’s obviously nearly half the teams that could say the same thing and be disappointed, but it’s too short a season in a strange season to make those judgment calls. I’m excited to turn the page, start over and see how we do with guys that we have a lot of confidence in down there.”
However, some changes will be afoot for the D’Backs, as Hall called it “far-fetched” that the club will have the same payroll it was prepared to spend coming into a normal season. The Diamondbacks were projected to have roughly a $124MM payroll going into Opening Day back in March, and they already have over $51MM committed to next year’s payroll. Yasmany Tomas’ salary will finally come off the books, though those savings will mostly be eaten up by the second-year raise built into Madison Bumgarner’s contract.
The Diamondbacks have never had more than a $132MM payroll since Ken Kendrick’s ownership group bought the team in 2004, and though the team has spent up to and close to that amount over the last three seasons, Hall said the loss of revenues from this season and the unanswered questions about next year’s revenues will limit spending to some extent. This doesn’t necessarily auger a drastic payroll cut or even anything beyond a minor cut, and Hall said Kendrick and company could potentially sign off on more player spending if fans are allowed at Chase Field.
“It’s hard to pinpoint where our payroll will be at this point just because it’s going to be fluid….Not just us, but every other team as well, we’re having to plan for different scenarios of revenue, different scenarios of attendance,” Hall said. “Smaller minimal crowds, no crowds, no restrictions and what that looks like. It’s going to take some time before we know exactly what that direction will be and what the payroll will look like.”
Hall also noted that GM Mike Hazen wasn’t under any mandate to cut payroll at the trade deadline. The deals of Starling Marte, Robbie Ray, and Archie Bradley shaved some significant dollars off of Arizona’s books for both this season and (in the cases of Marte and Bradley) in 2021, and it’s probably safe to assume that Hazen was taking payroll into consideration just as a matter of standard operating procedure, even if he received no direct instruction from upper management.
In the broader financial picture, Hall said the team’s explorations into a potential new ballpark have been “completely put off to the side” in the wake of the pandemic, as “in this economy, it doesn’t make sense to even kick the tires or talk to anybody.” The construction of the Diamondbacks’ new player academy in the Dominican Republic is also “on pause” for the time being.
Bumgarner, Zac Gallen, Caleb Smith, Luke Weaver, and Merril Kelly give the D’Backs a decent rotation. The bullpen will need some upgrades and CF will likely once again need to be addressed in the offseason but I’m not sure that this is a playoff team anytime soon
Thats 1 good pitcher and the backend starters.
I suspect Corbin Martin will make their 2021 rotation.
Fallen and Caleb Smith are good, but Bumgarner has completely lost the ability to limit runs from scoring. The rotation looks good on paper but in reality it’s fairly weak after Gallen
Cant really expect anything from Kelly next year coming off TOS. probably they decine his option.
Despite everything that has happened, I love this team, and especially their rotation.
Merrill Kelly (if he returns)
I like all of that. Oh, and I saw a guy named Riley Smith (I think), who I loved watching in the Rangers-D-backs series last week. Mid 90’s with movement, and a nice slider and curve. Plus, the advanced metrics love him. When I saw him pitch, I thought that he has to be a starter next season. So if Kelly leaves, I would be happy to see him step into that role.
That’s easily the 4th best rotation in the NL West. The Rockies have a more promising rotation than that
wild bill tetley
Baseball unwritten rule: unless proven otherwise, Colorado’s rotation will always be pre-ranked 5th in the NL West until further notice.
That bumps Arizona’s rotation up to 3rd.
You spent all off season puffing up the Dbacks and its just flat out not deserved. Gallen is the only decent starter they have. Lineup is very bleh. Dbacks have no where near the talent the Padres or Dodgers do. They will be lucky to compete with them over the next 5 years.
Bumgarner has been atrocious!
i still cant believe people thought this team would be a contendor.
They were in the playoffs last year. Why wouldn’t people think that they would still be good?
No they were not.
Sorry. Almost. They were 2nd in NL West.
That Bumgarner contract looked pretty bad at the time it was signed, and now it’s brutal. Still, he’s a gamer..if anyone can find a way to get something out of not much, it’s him.
I don’t understand why the D-back basically completely gave up on Thomas so fast… I mean I understand his defense wasn’t very good and his offense wasn’t all that spectacular either BUT in his only full season the guy did hit 30+ homers and then since has mashed HRs in the minors as well. Seeing as they were already paying him anyway it just seems really weird that they didn’t give him more of a chance — same situation is true with the Red Sox and Rusney Castillo (though the financials are actually different as the Sox have actually gotten away with not having his $ count towards the luxury tax) but still… he’s a guy who MORE than deserved a chance in the majors and unfortunately has just been wasting away in AAA making $11M/year. Really kind of sucks for everyone involved because I really think he could have been a productive ML player.
They didn’t give up on Tomas. Tomas gave up. Baseball figured out how to pitch to him, and he hasn’t learned how to make the adjustments. Homeruns don’t make up for limited skills.
tomas is hot garbage offensively and defensively you got that part right ✅. btw he wasn’t even 5th best batter for his AAA team.
D-back and Boston committed a mistake with Tomas and Castillo ,they never will admit it ,the reason : very complicate to explain
It is not that complicated. They can’t hit.
I can get Tomas not getting more chances. I’m sure his weight was an issue as well, but I don’t get why Castillo hasn’t sniffed the majors in four seasons. Look at his numbers at AAA the last three seasons:
17 87g, 314/350/507
18 117g, 319/360/417
19 120g, 278/321/448
They aren’t anything spectacular, but those are solid lines for three straight seasons that should have at least warranted a look at some point. Is there some hang up in his contract or does Boston just hate the guy?
@Briffle – There been a few good articles written on Rusney being stuck in limbo, but the gist is that he was grandfathered in for the time when sending a player with a MLB contract to the minors removed said contract from luxury tax.
But if the Red Sox ever call him up, then they can’t send him back down without his huge contract staying on the tax roll. Because Boston was already over the penalty until this year (and must remain under in 2020 to avoid increasing penalties), the contract would be even pricier to absorb.
Recommend googling it for more details.
Yes, I do remember a few years ago reading about his contract. That sucks for him. He certainly earned another look, but from Boston’s perspective, it makes sense not to call him up.
It must suck playing everyday knowing you basically have no chance to get called up. At least he made 72 million.
Not real complicated; they were wrong. Somehow we’ve learned to equate spending (especially on the International market) with guaranteed success. It doesn’t happen that way, for a variety of reasons .Sometimes because of poor talent evaluators, and sometimes because none of the scouts projected that if you gave this guy 3M, he was going to mail it in from henceforth forward. Or drink it away. Or shove it up his nose.
So called “soft analysis” (and I have no idea what’s soft about it) ultimately is more important than talent level. Lots of guys have talent; the question is, can they get to it?
As for the D-Backs, those folks are pretty bright. So they miscalculated in this weirdest of seasons…the Rays will probably win it all; they’re built for a 75 game season. 175? That’s another story.
Hazen and company will get the train back on the rails, and probably quicker than most think possible.
There was nothing bright about giving $85 million to Madison Bumgarner. The guy had a road ERA of 5.29 in 2019.
The Rays won 90 games in ’18 and ’96 in ’19. They are built for a complete season. As for the Dbacks, they finished 21 games behind the Dodgers last season and the talent gap has since become more pronounced. The Dbacks have also been surpassed by the Padres. Both of these division rivals have significantly better pitching than the Dbacks along with multiple impact hitters. The Dbacks have zero impact players and are apparently fixing to pinch pennies. They’ll have a difficult time avoiding last place in 2021.
Arizona should have been in the playoffs because MadBum is one of the greatest pitchers of all time still.
This is Mel Hall´s cousin. Remember Mel Hall? The Yankee who nobody liked? He was a loudmouth. Mel Hall wanted to be in charge of Arizona, but his cousin Derek was like “I am the cooler cousin. I get to be in charge. You can go work for the Orioles or Tigers!” And Mel Hall was like “Ok, I will.”
wild bill tetley
Nice story. Mel Hall is currently in prison. At-best he’s the Commissioner of the Texas Penal League.
What’s even funnier is Derek is white; Mel is black.
wild bill tetley
I didn’t laugh at that part.