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Wouldn't it be nice to be in a weak division, and have a young and talented team with a strong farm system? It can be yours for today. You are the General Manager of the Diamondbacks. The World Series of 2006 has just been completed (the Tigers blew away the Mets in 5 games in case you are interested), and you must plan for 2007 and beyond. Here's how Win Shares sees your club, and here are the financial details. You have just added Livan Hernandez and his $7 million salary for 2007. So, what would be your plan? Your team's 2006 payroll was $60 million, and with the success of the club, you can assume that the payroll budget for 2007 will be bumped to $70 million. If you feel the inclination to dip into the free agent pool, here is a list of possible free agents.

Here is your club, with some key prospects:


Johnny Estrada and Chris Snyder did a bang-up job in 2006. Estrada is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility. Do you attempt to sign him to a long term contract? Snyder is a fine back-up. Miguel Montero has made it to triple A, and is enjoying success there in early returns at age 23.

First Base

Conor Jackson had a solid rookie campaign. Shawn Green played some first base in 2006, but we'll talk about him more in the outfield. It looks like Jackson is your first baseman for the next 5 years. Do you think about a long-term contract or wait another year to even think about it?

Middle Infield

Orlando Hudson, Stephen Drew, Craig Counsell, and Alberto Callaspo are your options. Counsell's contract expires at the end of 2006, so it looks like Drew and Hudson are your keystone combination with Callaspo as the backup. Hudson's in the second year of arbitration eligibility; do you try to sign him for 3 or 4 years?

Third Base

Chad Tracy was not very effective in 2006, but is signed through 2009. We will mark that one down as an off-season and pray.


Your options are Luis Gonzalez, Shawn Green, Jeff DaVanon, Eric Byrnes, Scott Hairston, Carlos Quentin, and Chris Young. First off, centerfield. The 30 year old Byrnes gave you a great season in 2006, and is in his final year of arbitration eligibility. Do you sign him, trade him or (yikes) non-tender him? Next, the corners. Luis Gonzalez put in a fine age 38 season, and has a $10 million club option for 2007. Accept or decline? Shawn Green is signed for 2007 at $9.5 million, and there is a mutual option for 2008. At 33, Green is slowing down a little but can still hit some. What would you like the outfield to be in 2008? Justin Upton is just getting a start in low A ball this season, and may not be ready by then. 

Starting Rotation

It gets thinner on the pitching side. Brandon Webb is your ace. He is signed through 2009 with a club option for 2010. Livan Hernandez is signed for 2007, and will slide in behind Webb. After that, the possibilities are old friend Miguel Batista, Claudio Vargas, Enrique Gonzalez, Juan Cruz and Dustin Nippert. Batista's contract is up at the end of this year. Do you try to re-sign him, and if that fails, do you offer arbitration? Do you pursue a free agent pitcher, and if so, what is your budget?


Can someone please explain Jose Valverde to me? Normally, when you consistently strike out 11 batters per game, they don't tend to hit too many line drives. Anyways, when Valverde struggled, you wisely brought in that model of consistency and reliability Jorge Julio to close, and he was solid in 2006. You've also got Luis Vizcaino (2nd year of arbitration eligibility), Brandon Lyon (2nd year of arbitration eligibility), Greg Aquino, 2nd year man Brandon Medders. Julio is in his 3rd year of arbitration eligiblity; do you offer arbitration? He's really not much of a pitcher, but with all those saves, he's going to get a pretty penny in arbitration. Randy Choate, Mike Bascik, Mike Koplove and the other Tony Pena all toiled away with some effect in Tucson, with Pena the most impressive. Are you going to look to the free agent market for help here, and if so, what? A closer? A lefty?

Almost everybody has pitching worries. I guess that's why the free agent pitchers do so well. How did you make out?
Eyes on the Snakes- You Be The General Manager | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 08 2006 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#152615) #
Hmm.  I guess Orlando Hudson's presence on the Snakes isn't enough to provoke storms of interest. So, let me get things started. The committed contracts at this point are:

L. Hernandez-     $7 m
Shawn Green-    $9.5 m
Brandon Webb-  $4.5 m
Jeff DaVanon-     $1.25 m
Chad Tracy-        $2.75 m
Stephen Drew-  $1.1 m
Total-                   $26.1 m

You'd want to offer arbitration to the following players (expected 2007 salaries follow):

El Artista-         $4.5 m
Hudson-          $4.5 m
Estrada-          $3.5 m
Vargas-           $2.2 m
Vizcaino-         $2.0 m
Total-               $16.7 m
Total so far    $42.8 m

You've got the following pre-arbs. who should find a role on your club:

Chris Young
Enrique Gonzalez
Juan Cruz
Brandon Medders

Total cost-    $3.5 m
Grand total- $46.3 m

So, what you've got is salary room, and you need a starter and a reliever.  I'd try to trade either Gonzalez or Green, for a modestly overpaid reliever to act as closer; failing that I'd take a fairly-priced middle reliever.  If I couldn't get anything for either of them, I would decline Gonzalez' option.  I would trade Byrnes. The money would then seem to be there for a top-flight starter to follow Webb in the rotation.  I would not discuss contract with Conor Jackson until the end of 2007.  I would discuss a 3 year contract with Hudson. With luck, the 2008 outfield will be Quentin, Young and Hairston. 

Mick Doherty - Tuesday, August 08 2006 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#152618) #

Offer the Red Sox Green for Keith Foulke and cash or a marginal prospect. They won't be needing his considerably-salaried non-closer presence in Beantown with Papelbon around. And there's your closer for the D-Backs.

I don't really think Green would be an upgrade over Trot Nixon or Wily Mo Pena, but it seems like the kind of deal the Sox would make.

jeff - Tuesday, August 08 2006 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#152624) #

The D-backs certainly have a lot of those "good choices to have". There is a bit of an unbalance between the hitters and the pitchers and I would be looking to add starting pitching in the offseason.

I would keep Estrada at his arbitration number (~4M) and when Montero is ready, deal him for a minor league depth or a pitcher. I would also try to get Snyder in the lineup a little more often, may be a 50-50 split.

At first, I would trade Conor Jackson for the best young starting pitcher I could get (e.g. Ervin Santana, Zach Duke). I then would give Chris Carter every opportunity at first with the knowledge that if he fails Scott Hairston, Shawn Green or Tony Clark could fill-in.

While I would love the O-dog to take the job and not give up, I just don't think that he will find a permanent house in Arizona.  I would be looking for minor league depth whether it be pitching or hitting (they need depth in the infield). I would give Alberto Callapso the job at second and try to resign to Counsell as a back-up and for his veteran leadership. 

At short, you have to go with Stephen Drew. He was ready at the start of the season and has shown more than enough since his call-up.

At third, I would stick with Chad Tracy but try to sign a veteran pinch hitter who can play third and add depth to replace Damion Easley. Preferably a lefty bat, no one on the free agent list seems to fit, but someone will come available.

In the outfield, I would pick-up Gonzo's option if I could deal Shawn Green but I doubt that will happen without picking up a big chunk of salary, so Gonzo is gone. I would also trade Eric Byrnes while his value is high, even if it means having to tender him. Like with O-dog, I would be looking for as many minor league goodies as I can find. That leaves Carlos Quentin in right, Chris Young in center and Green in left with Jeff Davanon and Scott Hairston providing depth. Considerng Scott Hairston's injury history, I would also add another back-up outfielder with some sock in his bat, minor league free agent/AAAA type, to bridge the gap until Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Upton are ready. One of them should step in for Green in 2008, the other in 2009.

The lineup would look as follows:

2B - Alberto Callapso

SS - Stephen Drew

3B - Chad Tracy

RF - Carlos Quentin

1B - Chris Carter

LF - Shawn Green

C - Johnny Estrada/Chris Snyder

CF - Chris Young

With a bench of Craig Counsell, Jeff Davanon, Tony Clark, Scott Hairston and lefty thirdbaseman.

The core of next years rotation would be Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez and the young pitcher acquired in the Conor Jackson trade. I would see I could deal Vargas for minor leaguers but if not I would non-tender him. I would also give one spot to one of the young pitchers on the team with the first shot going to Enrique Gonzalez with Micah Owings as the long tem replacement. Dustin Nippert, Juan Cruz and Edgar Gonzalez will all get a shot if Enrique fails before Owings is ready. Ross Ohlendorf and Greg Smith, a couple of Double A groundball specialists, provide some extra depth for 2008 and beyond though I think they will miss Garret Mock and Matt Chico (it is always a bad idea to trade with someone who knows your system better than you do, thanks Mike Rizzo). The fourth pitcher will come through free agency - there should be plenty of dollars to throw around for a a quality arm with Gonzo (11.5M), Byrnes (2.25M), O-dog (2.3M), Batista (4.75M), Vargas (1.275M), Koplove (1.15M) and Vizcaino (1.775M) salaries off the books (13M will go to Livan and raises to Green, Webb and Tracy - leaving 12M). There isn't much in terms of free agent pitchers but I would target a short term big money (15M a year for two years) deal for Jason Schmidt, failing that and providing the medicals are good I would look at Randy Wolf on a Kris Benson type deal. And failing that I would look at the reliable vets (Maddux, Pettitte) on a one plus option year deals in the 8M range.

For the bullpen, I would continue with the current mix of young arms. An arbitration deal for Julio will probably be overpriced but not as bad as getting a closer on the free agent market, so I tender Julio and keep him at the back end. Brandon Medders and Tony Pena will pitch the high leverage innings. The rest of the bullpen would be filled out from a mix of who is pitching well at the time between Brandon Lyon, Greg Aquino, Dustin Nippert, Juan Cruz, Edgar Gonzalez, Casey Daigle, Randy Choate, Jose Valverde and Jeff Bajernu.

Anyway, the plan would be to have a young but very talented team in the field with quality veterans on the bench and a consistent, low risk, even if underwhelming rotation, behind Webb and talented, young and cheap middle relief and a closer who adds stability if nothing else. The growth of the team will come from the progress of the young position players, developing starting pitching to replace Livan and fill the fourth and fifth spots and replenishing the system's depth once this current crop of players graduate or fade away (thus the strategic importance of the O-dog, Byrnes and Estrada trades). 

Mick Doherty - Tuesday, August 08 2006 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#152629) #

Brandon Webb is having a nice year -- didn't realize he was 12-4! -- and that career ERA (3.22 currently) is very nice. But he just doesn't scream "ace" to me in the Schilling-Halladay-Clemens mold.

Sure, not every team has That Guy. But what would AZ have to do to get one? I think putting a Guy like that -- or even potentially like that, a Dontrelle Willis sort -- makes them the clear-cut favourite in the NL West for the next four or five years.

Anders - Tuesday, August 08 2006 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#152634) #
Roy Halladay 2006 -    IP: 162.2,  H; 160, K/BB 23/94,   K/BB: 4.09, HR: 13, OPS: .667,  GB/FB 2.25,  ERA 3.21 12-4
Brandon Webb 2006 - IP: 167.1,  H: 161, K/BB 29/125, K/BB: 4.31  HR: 12, OPS: .659,  GB/FB 3.85, ERA: 2.74 13-3

It's hard to conceive of how two pitchers could be more similar than this - Webb has more strikeouts, and is more of a groundballer, but other than that it's creepy. League difference caveats apply, as always.

SheldonL - Tuesday, August 08 2006 @ 07:45 PM EDT (#152635) #

Here's my version of the Snakes of '07

Batters                                                 Salaries(millions)

RF S.Green                                                   9.5

CF  C.Young                                                   0.3 (arb)

LF  Quentin                                                    0.3 (arb)

1B   C.Jackson                                               1   (don't talk long-term contract until more power is shown)

2B   O.Hudson                                                4 (contract)(talk 4 year deal/20mil)

SS   S.Drew                                                      2.3(finish up the burden of that signing bonus)

3B   C.Tracy                                                      2.75(even if '05  is his ceiling, his contract works in D-Back's favour)

C    Estrada                                                     4(contract)(shop him around just to see what you'd get once Montero is reading to resume a platoon with Snyder)


S. Hairston                                                    0.5(good pop and speed, very versatile)

DaVanon                                                       1.25(good value and injury replacement)

T.Clark                                                           1(good power off the bench)

C.Snyder                                                      0.7(developing well, may challenge for more playing time)

C.Consell                                                    2(fan-favourite is worth the 2 million as it gives fans continuity, plus he's verstatile)

Total                                                            $ 29.6 mil

Notes: Upton gets more time to develop(hopefully for two more full seasons unless his bat forces a promotion) and for now, we'll hold off on that signing bonus. Carlos Gonzalez gets more time to develop and replace Green in '08.


Webb                                                           4.5 (he's good at 24 and hopefully the O-Dog contract works out to help this groundballer)

L.Hernandez                                              7(he  logs innings and could be a trade-deadline boon if things don't work out)

Cruz                                                             2(1-year deal :a reward for a good season, future though depends on replication especially with Nippert and Garret Mock breathing down his neck not to mention the E.Gonzalez's)


Lyon, Valverde, Aquino, Daigle, Medders, Enrique Gonzalez all for about $3million(through arbitration)

Total thus far                                                      $16.5+29.6=46.1

Notes: young pitchers like Edgar Gonzalez and Nippert and Mock get a chance to work for September call-ups and more importantly to develop.

Free-Agency, In case any of you were wondering what type of crank I was considering I only mentioned 3 starters and a bullpen missing a guy. Well, this team lacks a solid lefty, we would approach Everyday Eddie to see if he would consider being our lefty specialist/closer for 3 mil, he'd probably turn it down so we would go with Ron Villon at $3 million(I'd love a lower cost but pitching is expensive). I'd go with Valverde as my closer and Lyon and Aquino as set-up guys.

Now that payroll's firmly at around $50mil, we can pursue the big boys! I like Zito the most, we'd overpay at $15 mil per annum(given how the market is, that might be a steal!) and look to sign Gil Meche at $5mil(hoping that his bad outings lately will lower his asking price). Given that I've pestered ownership for that extra $10mil to bring the payroll to $70, I'd ask for an advance on next year's payroll to sign Kerry Wood, yes you read that correctly, for a base salary of $2mil with an incentive deal (based on innings, WHIP, ERA, Cy Young voting) worth up to $15mil.

And voila! If the D-Backs win a World Series with a rotation featuring Zito, Webb, Hernandez, and Wood, I don't think ownership would be too unwilling to forget Wood's salary!

Mike Green - Monday, January 22 2007 @ 11:03 AM EST (#162337) #
Here is the current D'Back 40 man roster.  Anyone care to grade GM Josh Byrnes on his moves since this article was written?
Eyes on the Snakes- You Be The General Manager | 7 comments | Create New Account
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