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.
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?
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?
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.
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?