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Diamondbacks finally free to spend money

LISTEN: Derrick Hall, President of the Arizona Diamondbacks

If the Arizona Diamondbacks fail to succeed this season, it won’t be due to a lack of effort.

Or finances.

Team president Derrick Hall, who was a guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Wednesday, said the team’s payroll in 2013 will be the highest since 2001, when the D-backs won the World Series.

And only one contract — Bernard Gilkey’s — is left over from the era of deferred contracts.

“We’re in great shape,” Hall said. “A little over $250 million in deferred salaries that are now finally behind us.”

That means the majority of money the D-backs are spending on salaries will be reflected on the field this season.

And they’re spending considerable money on salaries.

“I can tell you we’re at a number that is high for us,” Hall said. “It starts with a nine.”

Hall called it a “commitment”, saying the organization went into the offseason with a budget in mind but made decisions based on what would help the team win.

“There weren’t too many times this offseason when our baseball staff came to me or to [owner Ken Kendrick] and said ‘we have an idea, we want to go get this guy, it’s going to cost us even more,'” Hall said. “Our budget was 80 to 85, and here we are well over that because we are committed, we want to win and we want them to have the resources.”

Hall added “it will be a little tight this year,” but said revenues will change — especially if the team plays well.

“In coming years we’re looking at a new TV contract for us, which can be a game-changer,” he said. “It’s not going to put us up to the Dodger-type money but it’s really going to elevate us in our division.”

Few teams have Dodger-type money. But, Hall said, an expensive roster isn’t a prerequisite to winning a championship.

“I think if you’re a team like us you want to do it the right way,” he said. “We are creating that depth; you don’t need a $200 million payroll to win, you really don’t.”

Hall admitted it would be “tough” to win with a really low payroll, but said the important thing is to have balance.

“For us, we need to scout properly, draft properly, keep those players — retain them, sign them through arbitration years, through free agency years,” he said. “As long as we’re doing our job on the front end and drafting the right players, it doesn’t matter how much money. You just have to keep those players controllable.”

Hall pointed to Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Eaton and Gerardo Parra — as well as most of the pitching staff — as homegrown players, and said that’s how the team has to build.

“If you operate the way you should and could you should be fine, and we’re always going to compete,” he said.