D'Backs Lower Payroll, But Baseball Operations Budget Roughly The Same
D'Backs Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick said that the team will start the season with a payroll "somewhere north" of $60M, down from $79M on Opening Day last year, but team officials said that they are "spending 'roughly the same' on their total baseball operations budget as they did last year," according to Nick Piecoro of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Kendrick: "We've reallocated monies in different places because we want to invest in the future. It's not all about the major-league budget." Meanwhile, D'Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said the club's total attendance of 2.1 million last season, the "smallest in franchise history," was a "pretty good number when you lose 97 games." But he "stopped short of saying the club was projecting as many fans again this season" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/20). Hall said the D'Backs "hope to be over" 2.1 million this season. Hall: "It proves that we're playing well. I'll tell you, I think the market is ready for us. The state is ready for us. You go to Fan Fest ... after a 97-loss season and you have 12,000 fans come through on a Saturday, that means they like you and they like this team. That's a very positive sign." Kendrick said the "overall baseball budget is roughly the same number this year as a year ago." Kendrick: "It's more than $100 million. And when I talk about the baseball budget I don't talk about that elephant in the room and that's the deferred player number. ... It's still a significant number. It will be this year and it will be next year and then beyond that it'll reduce substantially. We had a 10-year plan that we had to deal with a $250 million obligation. It's almost -- I choke on the number when I say what it was and certainly where it is -- it's way, way below. It's below $50 million as we speak." Meanwhile, when asked about MLB's labor situation, Kendrick said, "Our contract does end this year, as you all know, and the owners that are leading the negotiation have already begun to talk, make plans. This time they've solicited input from all of the clubs in a more thorough way than at least in my memory. ... I think there are no known issues, at least that I'm aware of, that are likely to produce the atmosphere that might result in a work stoppage" (AZCENTRAL.com, 2/19).
BONUS BUCKS: The REPUBLIC's Piecoro reported the D'Backs "spent a franchise record on draft bonuses in 2009, doling out around" $10M. Team officials said that they are "prepared to exceed that this year ... in a draft in which they hold two picks in the top 10 -- Nos. 3 and 7 -- and a supplemental first-round pick, No. 43." Hall: "We knew we're going to have to spend money on this draft. We look at it as an opportunity" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/20).