The gritty Arizona Diamondbacks are back at .500 and have won eight of their last night games and six-straight. They are doing it with very good bullpen pitching, aggressive base running, and power hitting. The starting rotation has been iffy but is rounding into form with Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson pitching well at the top and Josh Collmenter providing a nice and unexpected lift at the bottom of the order.â†µ
Fans are actually having fun watching D-backs games which is the most important thing to a team with a giant stadium to fill. But this season was never about this season. This season for the Diamondbacks was always about grooming some of the young talent both at the major league level and in the farm system and changing the culture of the team.â†µ
Kirk Gibson is doing a good job with the later and Kevin Powers with a former. For 2012 things could actually be pretty good. Young players aside, the financial situation is looking up too.â†µ
According to this analysis from MLB Trade Rumors, the team is going to have a lot of money to spend to bolster the roster should they be so inclined:â†µ
2012 Contract Issues: Arizona Diamondbacks: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.comâ†µ
The Diamondbacks' 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot's, is $28.908MM if Duke's option is declined. Throw in $8MM for arbitration eligibles and the D'Backs are still about $20MM under their 2011 payroll before accounting for minimum salary players. The payroll exceeded $70MM in each of the two previous years, and a return to that level would give Towers over $30MM in 2012 salaries to work with.
Will the D-backs go out and spend $30m to bring in free agent talent to make the team better? Some of that money will go to paying the third and seventh round picks from the 2011 MLB Draft, but there will still be plenty left over to bring in some players should the club decide to make a run in 2012.â†µ
PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 12: Manager Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks argues with home plate home plate umpire Bob Davidson after being ejected from the Major League Baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Chase Field on April 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)â†µ