Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall spoke with MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert and other reporters earlier this week, discussing several topics about the club’s offseason and future plans. In regards to the biggest-picture topic of the Diamondbacks’ quest for a new ballpark, Hall said that “nothing has really changed yet….We’re still looking at what other options there might be in Maricopa County, not outside of Maricopa County,” and that “we’ll start accelerating that process again” now that the MLB lockout and the pandemic delayed the process. The club’s lease at Chase Field is up after the 2027 season, and while the D’Backs have been in talks with Phoenix officials, there were some reports in 2019 that the Diamondbacks had possibly considered Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada as alternate sites. Hall said that the team would likely prefer to remain in the downtown Phoenix area, and Kendrick added that “whether it be the downtown setting or perhaps a ballpark somewhere in the Valley that would be a brand new one,” the D’Backs are “prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars” to help fund the construction of a new home.
Speaking of finances, the Diamondbacks have had an active offseason as the team looks to improve on its 74-88 record from 2022. The Snakes’ current payroll sits at around $118.9MM, which Kendrick noted was almost a 30 percent increase from last year’s figure. While this spending still puts the D’Backs in the bottom half of all MLB payrolls, Kendrick said that ownership was prepared to reinvest at the deadline if necessary: “If the team is competitive and has the chance to play in October is there, we’re going to spend more money to get there.”
More from Arizona…
- Corbin Martin has worked mostly as a starter over his pro career, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes that the D’Backs are transitioning Martin into a full-time relief role. The hope is that the new bullpen role will help Martin achieve some consistency (after posting a 6.71 ERA over his first 57 2/3 innings in the majors) and also help keep him healthy — the righty missed most of 2019 and the entire 2020 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and a follow-up oblique strain, and Martin also had IL trips in each of the last two seasons. As Piecoro noted in another piece, those injuries meant that the D’Backs were awarded a fourth option year on Martin, giving the team additional control over their ability to move Martin between the majors and minors. “So far, I feel like health-wise, it might be the best decision. Not overtaxing, being able to go out there and focus on the three outs to get every inning…Being able to build off that is going to be able to help me in the long run,” Martin said. Martin has averaged 94.5 mph on his fastball at the big league level, but D’Backs manager Torey Lovullo said that Martin hit the 97mph mark during a live batting practice session on Thursday.
- After undergoing shoulder surgery last year, Druw Jones should be ready for action around the start of the minor league season, Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen told Piecoro and other reporters. Jones’ first minor league game will be his official pro debut, as he suffered a torn left posterior labrum during a workout just three days after signing his post-draft deal. Arizona selected Jones with the second overall pick in last summer’s draft, and injury notwithstanding, Jones is still a consensus top-35 prospect in baseball even before he has taken the field.