D-backs leadership likes where team stands

D-backs leadership likes where team stands

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall met with the media Friday just before the team's first full-squad workout of the spring and covered a variety of topics.

Here's a look at them:

Payroll
"It's right around $102 million," Hall said. "Obviously, Ken's always been open, willing to listen to other needs and generous enough to stretch if need be. So, we're not where we'll necessarily finish, but we're at a place where we do have flexibility to add if needed. Hopefully, we're in that position."

Kendrick added that the new baseball operations department led by general manager Mike Hazen is "very strategic in how they think about money and where it can be used and when it can be used."

Hall discusses 2017 season

Zack Greinke's contract
Kendrick was asked, given the D-backs current payroll structure, if he felt they could continue to afford Greinke's six-year, $206.5 million contract, which has five years left.

"I think we will be and again we're going to look to the leadership to make judgments on who the right talent to have is," Kendrick said. "We wouldn't have made that commitment if we didn't think we could afford the player."

Extending Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt signed a five-year, $32 million extension in 2013 that includes a team option for 2019. As of right now, it does not sound like the D-backs are exploring an additional extension.

"Paul has three more years with us no matter what," Kendrick said. "So, while you always plan longer term, I think the focus now is not on that as a decision we need to make in the near term."

Message Hall gave to the team during the first full-squad meeting
"Mine is pretty similar to the one I give each and every year," Hall said. "And it's basically to interreact with the fans as much as possible, take the time to sign autographs and engage with them, take photos. Realize that we're a team and make that uniform mean something special again. Obviously, we've had a couple of years that we haven't been pleased with so it's time to make that mean something again."

Expectations
Kendrick was asked about the expectations he had for the team coming off last year's 69-93 finish.

"We clearly have, and I think third-parties say this and I think it's fair, a core of some talent," he said. "I think the players themselves are pretty disappointed in the outcome of last year, as all of us were. And we do have some history here of rebounding from bad seasons. You'd like to think the core is there and with some changes that we've made, there is real potential for a turnaround."

Ticket sales
Hall said ticket sales are ahead of where they were at this time last year.

"I think fans are looking at it as an opportunity," he said. "It's a reset, a restart. They felt really good about this team before. You've basically got the same pieces, plus we've added to it. We've now got the [baseball operations] leadership team that is focused on a nice balance of the analytics and metrics along with actual baseball skills and the common eye. I think fans see that. They're excited about the prospect of where this team can go. I'm encouraged by the sales so far."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.