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Gomez: D-backs’ financial mishaps made Goldschmidt trade inevitable

Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt looks on from the dugout before the baseball game against the San Diego Padres Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)

The Arizona Diamondbacks were destined to trade one of their best players in franchise history following a disappointing season.

General manager Mike Hazen chose to sacrifice trading first baseman Paul Goldschmidt away for valuable assets and long-term flexibility of the team.

Payroll mismanagement under previous D-backs regimes is what ultimately led to this decision, ESPN’s Pedro Gomez told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Friday.

“I think that they put themselves in this position when they signed Zack Greinke,” Gomez said. “When you tie up one-third or so of your payroll in one player, that just puts a choke-hold on what you can do otherwise.”

Greinke, 35, signed a six-year, $206.5 million contract in 2015, worth about $35 million per year, under former general manager Dave Stewart. That’s more per year than Goldschmidt made over the course of his five-year, $32 million contract with Arizona, not including the club option for 2019 that will pay him $14.5 million in St. Louis.

Stewart, who was fired in 2016 before Hazen took over, also signed 28-year-old outfielder and third baseman Yasmany Tomás to a hefty contract for the D-backs.

“Yasmany Tomás actually made more money than Paul Goldshmidt last season,” he said. “He was the second-highest paid employee in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization after Greinke, and he was not on the 40-man roster — never appeared in one single game.

“So you make decision like that and you’re basically putting yourself in a situation where you’re not going to be able to keep a Paul Goldschmidt.”

Hazen has already lost former D-backs pitcher Patrick Corbin to the Washington Nationals in free agency, and will likely lose outfielder A.J. Pollock, which point to signs of a rebuild for the organization.

But Arizona shouldn’t necessarily expect longevity with one star player. Smaller markets equal less money, said Gomez:

“There are a lot of organizations that cannot keep that true major star, once he becomes that, and you even see it with some big markets. I mean, there’s some doubt that Mike Trout will finish with the Angels. It’s really difficult if you’re Arizona, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland — it’s just really difficult to keep because the money is just so exorbitant and those teams that play in those major markets on the coast just have more money.”

The D-backs will now have to figure what direction to go with Greinke and which suitors would want to take on his contract if Arizona is willing to deal him via trade.

“There are teams that absolutely would love to take him on but they’re not going to take on $104 million over three years,” Gomez said. “That’s just the reality.”

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