17 January 2012
In an unexpected move, veteran left-hander Joe Saunders re-signed with the Diamondbacks on a one year, $6M contract. The club had reportedly offered a 2 yr, $12M deal during the fall that was turned down by Saunders. Saunders had then countered with an offer of 3 years for $27M, and the team decided to non-tender him. But after looking at his options around the league, Saunders decided to come back to Arizona. Key factors included the fact that he had enjoyed his time with the Diamondbacks, and that he had recently purchased a home in Arizona.
The signing of Saunders basically completes the 2012 starting rotation, with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill, and Josh Collmenter filling the other four slots. In fact, the entire 25-Man roster is basically set at this point, with 26 players likely batting for 25 spots. Let's take a look at the likely roster and payroll for next year's team.
Starting Pitchers (5 players, $11M): Ian Kennedy ($0.5M), Daniel Hudson ($0.5M), Trevor Cahill ($3.5M), Joe Saunders ($6M), Josh Collmenter ($0.5M)
Relief Pitchers (7 players, $10.75M): J.J. Putz ($4.5M), David Hernandez ($0.5M), Takashi Saito ($1.75M), Bryan Shaw ($0.5M), Brad Ziegler ($1.5M), Craig Breslow ($1.5M), Joe Patterson ($0.5M)
Catchers (2 players, $7.2M): Miguel Montero ($6M), Henry Blanco ($1.2M)
Infielders (7 players, $18.7M): Paul Goldschmidt ($0.5M), Aaron Hill ($5.5M), Stephen Drew ($7.75M), Ryan Roberts ($1.1M), Lyle Overbay ($1M), John McDonald ($1.5M), Geoff Blum ($1.35M)
Outfielders (5 players, $23.65M): Justin Upton ($6.75M), Chris Young ($7M), Gerardo Parra ($0.5M), Jason Kubel ($7.5M), Willie Bloomquist ($1.9M)
Total: 26 Players, $71.3M
The numbers above include estimates for players like Montero, Ziegler, Breslow, and Roberts, who are all arbitration-eligible this year. But it seems clear that the opening day payroll will be at least $70M, a significant increase over the 2011 level of $56M, but similar to that in 2009 and 2010. It also means that prospects such as Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, and Wade Miley will probably start the 2012 campaign in the Minor Leagues, which is good since they all have very little experience in the upper minors. If Stephen Drew is healthy for Opening Day (and there are no other injuries), then obviously someone will have to go (Geoff Blum?). Or the the team could choose to send Collmenter down to AAA for the first two weeks, until they need a 5th starter.
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