Diamondbacks leadership gives credit to young corps after offseason spending

Mar 30, 2024, 7:15 PM

Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate...

Outfielders (L-R) Alek Thomas #5, Corbin Carroll #7 and Jake McCarthy #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate after defeating the San Francisco Giants 7-1 in the MLB game at Chase Field on September 20, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — When discussing an increase in offseason spending, Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick has credited the postseason run several times, saying his group would invest that revenue into the payroll. But another key component is the belief in Arizona’s young corps sustaining a contention window.

The D-backs spent more money this winter than at any point with its current front office, as the only other comparable year was ahead of the 2020 season.

“I think part of what we were doing with this decision was telling our young players how much we believe in them,” Kendrick said.

“We came out in 2017 and 2018 — ’18 obviously didn’t go exactly how we wanted — we didn’t quite have the young players moving up through the system and onto the team at that point,” general manager Mike Hazen said. “The sustainability of that roster was in doubt no matter what. Now we had a team that played well last year, deserved to go to the playoffs then played really well in October and that team is still here, for the most part, and it’s a young group.”

Arizona’s lineup on Saturday had five players 25 years or younger — Corbin Carroll, Gabriel Moreno, Blaze Alexander, Alek Thomas and Geraldo Perdomo.

The Diamondbacks were one of the more aggressive teams adding talent this offseason even before the recent Jordan Montgomery signing, a move made possible by the unique market and his willingness to take a short deal to compete.

The word momentum has been thrown around, and players have responded positively to the support.

“I think it’s special, not only me but the whole team and I think we’re gonna benefit from it more than we think,” 25-year-old pitcher Brandon Pfaadt said on Friday. “And I think there’s a lot to look forward to this year.”

First baseman Christian Walker said it feels like everyone in pulling in the same direction. Joc Pederson — one of Arizona’s veteran acquisitions — said it shows the clubhouse that belief from upstairs.

There remains flexibility to add during the year if the team is in position to buy, Kendrick said even with the $25 million guaranteed to Montgomery. Arizona didn’t pull much from the farm system this winter in deals, so Hazen has the cupboard full to do so if the right trade partner comes along at the deadline.

“I think the young players we have on our team, and it’s almost the entire roster, I think it’s exciting within the city,” Hazen said. “I hear my kids talk about it and hear their friends talk about it. I hear who they talk about. It’s not just Corbin, it’s Alek Thomas, Perdomo, Moreno.

“They love these guys. I think that’s something we need to take very seriously because they’re gonna be here for a long time. Surrounding them with the right veteran players to win in the postseason, because veteran players do a good job in the postseason, we felt that’s what we should do.”

The club is already seeing that momentum from the fans continue with ticket sales for 2024.

Kendrick said he hopes the D-backs will draw 2.5 million fans this year, which would be a major boost in revenue from 1.9 million last year that will factor into sustaining this level of spending.

“The income from being in the series last year was significant for team in our category,” Kendrick said. “You would like to think there’s a chance we might be able to continue to be a playoff caliber team. I’ve used the line before to answer a question last year, I hoped we would get in the playoffs and fortunately it happened. This year, I’ll be disappointed if we aren’t.”

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