ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs GM Mike Hazen: ‘Payroll is irrelevant to me’ in team construction

Feb 23, 2023, 9:12 PM

Mike Hazen, Arizona Diamondbacks GM...

Arizona Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen during spring training workouts on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Scottsdale. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

As the Arizona Diamondbacks are completing their first week of shaking off the cobwebs and learning the new rules at spring training, a report indicates the team has already started looking to lock up a piece of its young core.

Outfielder Corbin Carroll ranks as MLB.com’s No. 2 prospect heading into the 2023 season. According to AZCentral’s Nick Piecoro, Arizona is reportedly interested in inking Carroll to a long-term deal despite him playing just 32 games in the majors.

The D-backs historically spend much less than division rival Los Angeles Dodgers, and to a lesser extent, the San Francisco Giants. They are then left with a decision to lock up young players for a potentially larger sum of money than they have earned so far or risk losing them when they are worth too much for the team to keep.

General manager Mike Hazen does not view the payroll as a challenge in building a team despite ranking No. 21 or lower in payroll over the last three seasons while amassing a 151-233 record, two top-6 draft picks and two last-place finishes in the division over that time.

“The payroll is irrelevant to me,” Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Wednesday. “Everybody has challenges in what they have to do to build a team. Nobody ever creates the perfect team and nobody will create the perfect team. That dynamic is irrelevant to me.

“We are in the business of finding really good baseball players and having those baseball players come together as a team. We have an equal opportunity to do that just like the other 29 teams. Yes, we have a younger team. … I think this group is really coming up together in a good way. There are multiple of them, it’s not just one or two guys. … We all want a team that’s going to be here and we can get behind, there’s at least a foundation now.”

The 22-year-old Carroll is atop a flooded group of outfielders that includes Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Kyle Lewis, Pavin Smith and prospect Druw Jones in the next couple of years.

“My expectations (for Carroll) are the same as they would be for any young player: there are no expectations. It is a really dangerous game to play with a young player, no matter how talented,” Hazen said.

“They have to learn the game at this level through success and failure. I do not think anyone is immune to that. … He is an exceptional player, he has incredible make-up and is one of the hardest working, most dedicated players we have in our system and on our team, and to me, that is the foundation for a really good player.”

Carroll is still on his rookie deal for one more season and made an estimated $700,000 in 2022, per Spotrac.

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