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Diamondbacks president Hall: Payroll disparity does present challenges

LISTEN: Derrick Hall, D-backs President and CEO

The Arizona Diamondbacks are not exactly what you would call a “poor” MLB team, but they’re not particularly rich, either.

At least, not on the level of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Heading into the 2014 season, the Dodgers have a payroll of $235,295,219, while the D-backs are at $112,688,666.

The Dodgers rank first in baseball while the D-backs are 11th.

On the surface, it would appear tough for a team like Arizona to compete, especially with their division rival boasting a payroll more than twice as high as their own.

But as a guest of the Doug and Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said he thinks MLB’s current luxury tax system is working, at least a little bit.

“When you hear reports the last two years the Yankees are trying to get back under the threshold because they don’t want to pay the tax that they’re paying now after multiple years, I think it does work,” he said. “And at some point teams have to look in the mirror and say, ‘Should we keep doing business the way that we are?’

“You hope that the Dodgers eventually get there.”

That may be a while.

Ever since the team was bought by an ownership group that includes Magic Johnson in March 2012, the team has not been bashful about adding salary if it thought wins would soon follow.

Last season it worked, as the Dodgers won 92 games and the NL West title.

“Not every team that has spent a lot of money has won, either,” Hall said. “The Yankees had a lot of success for several years doing what they’re doing and maybe the Dodgers will. But then again, some teams have spent a lot of money on player payroll and have not had good results and have had to completely change directions and unload themselves of everything they had.”

It has happened before and it may eventually happen in Los Angeles, but until then all the D-backs can do is try to win with the payroll they can afford.

And while they aren’t frugal by any means, not having the same financial freedom as a team like the Dodgers does present a different set of challenges.

“In our situation we cannot afford to make mistakes. When we go out and get a free agent or if we make a trade and it doesn’t work out, we’re hurting for years,” Hall said. “Whereas if you’re the Dodgers or a team spending a lot of money, you make a mistake you just turn the page and you pay someone else.

“That is the tough part, that is the disparity. But we just have to do our jobs better and we have to make sure we hire the right people to do those jobs.”