Baseball’s winter meetings are quickly approaching and free agency talk is starting to heat up.
While the Arizona Diamondbacks had the smallest payroll of all 30 major league clubs in 2015 according to USA Today’s baseball salaries database, D-backs Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa said he isn’t afraid to spend more in order to acquire the right players.
Arizona’s 2015 payroll of $65,770,333 was roughly 30% of the fellow NL-West Los Angeles Dodgers’ $230,352,402.
La Russa recently told Chris Russo of MLB Network’s High Heat that the Diamondbacks are planning to increase that payroll this offseason:
“We have plenty of money. We’re going to spend about $100 million…If you spend it smartly and you’ve got good young players we can compete with anybody.”
So the question remains, who will the Diamondbacks be spending that money on?
While there were rumors circulating that they could be in the market for a closer, Diamondbacks General Manager Dave Stewart recently told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that starting pitching is more of a priority:
“With Ziegler doing the job that he has, I am looking to better ourselves more than likely in the front end versus the back end (of the bullpen),” Stewart said.
With that being said, the Diamondbacks have been linked to plenty of starting pitchers that they could potentially acquire via free agency or trades.
Without argument, the biggest free agent starting pitchers on the market are David Price and Zack Greinke. That being said, Arizona hasn’t been one of the teams that has been linked to them so far.
However they have expressed interest in Johnny Cueto who is arguably the next biggest free agent starting pitcher.
Other free agents that the Diamondbacks are rumored to have interest in include Yovani Gallardo and John Lackey, both of which declined $15.8 million qualifying offers.
In addition to Gallardo and Lackey, there are a handful of other options that would also make sense for the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks have expressed interest in international pitcher Kenta Maeda, a right-hander from Japan.
Arizona has also been linked to Shelby Miller of the Braves and Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, who they could potentially acquire via trades — likely at a high cost.