The Diamondbacks finished 2011 with a Major League best 29-win increase over 2010's performance. Losing to the Brewers in the NLDS, Arizona had tapped the likes of Ian Kennedy, Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Roberts to guide them through the 2011 season.
As the team heads into the 2011-2012 offseason, general manager Kevin Towers should have an easier time than he did last year.
Though the D'backs improved in several offensive categories in 2011, it is no secret that they could use another bat. However, Towers will have to consider the financial ramifications of such a transaction.
With Kennedy, Miguel Montero, and potentially Joe Saunders and Aaron Hill due for some pricey raises, the Diamondbacks have to be careful. Not much money will be left over to add a big-name player to the lineup.
The D'backs aren't a cash cow, doling out $54,647,950 in 2011, with the average player taking home less than $2.25 million. Out of 30 teams, Arizona's payroll placed 26th in the league, paying out less than one-third than that of the league's payroll leader, the $192,230,363 laden New York Yankees.
Though the payroll is relatively low, statistics have a way of turning around frames of mind. Think about it this way, the D'backs were first in the National League in the "2011 Most Efficient Teams" category, recording a cost-per-win of $581,361. Then again, the lowly San Diego Padres finished in second place with $598,989, followed by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals.
While Towers' job is made easier by the fact that most key pieces of the lineup are returning in 2012, he will also have to contend with at least $30 million guaranteed to those returning players.
Though the D'backs are certainly going to be looking to acquire, here are some key names Towers and his crew should look to avoid and some they might want to consider.