Top Diamondbacks baseball decision-makers Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart spoke with the press today as the offseason begins. Here are some of the highlights:
- Arizona has begun at least exploratory discussions with center fielder A.J. Pollock about a contract extension, per Stewart, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets. Pollock is entering his first of three seasons of arbitration eligibility. He has shown an openness to considering a deal, it seems, though he’s not going to be cheap given his incredible (and still under-appreciated) level of production over the last two years.
- While the team has a theoretical opening in the closer role, which Brad Ziegler filled after the demotion of the since-traded Addison Reed, that doesn’t necessarily mean a 9th-inning specialist will be added. Stewart said that it’s possible the club will look to fill out the pen with depth rather than pursuing someone to tag with the closer label, as MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports on Twitter.
- Backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia has indicated to the team that he’ll test the open market in search of a starting role, Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona tweets. But Arizona would like to bring him back, presumably to make a continued pairing with Welington Castillo. That tandem was among the most productive in baseball over the season’s second half.
- The D’Backs will replace pitching coach Mike Harkey with Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. La Russa, however, would only confirm that the team decided to part ways with Harkey, calling Stottlemyre a candidate, as Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic reports. Otherwise, the coaching staff under skipper Chip Hale will remain the same. That being said, the Padres have asked for and received permission to speak with third base coach Andy Green about San Diego’s open managerial position. Phil Nevin is another Arizona coach that has and could again draw interest from outside the organization.
Red is SUPER hard to read. I do hope you reconsider the redesign or at least go to an easier color to read like blue.
Ziegler did a very solid job replacing Reed. Glad to see that their focus has changed from a closer to a middle reliever, and, presumably, a rotation upgrade, and to extending Pollock
Here’s a DBacks offseason overview from a big-time fan.
We are covered offensively, but may look to upgrade our pitching staff by including Lamb, Owings, and one of Inciarte, Peralta, or Tomàs in trades. We have many mid-range starters and lots of young pitching talent, but no top line guys. And, no sure things are coming up from AAA. Adding a couple 1-2’s make this team a winner, pushing guys like Corbin and De La Rosa into workable 3-4’s. The bullpen will be gutted. We have a few that will return…Ziegler, Hudson, Deldado, and Chafin. There’s a few needs here after that. A true closer makes our pen stellar. It pushes Zieg into a much needed shut down 7th/8th guy and keeps all the other overworked arms healthy and ready.
I’m also a Diamondback fan. I’m ok with Ziegler as a closer. I like Hudson, Chafin, Delgado, but agree they need to add one more experienced arm. I also liked Silvino Bracho, and would like to see if he can make the team out of sorting training. As for position players, I wouldn’t mind exploring deals for Lamb or Inciarte for starting pitching, but not sure how much value they could really get for them. I like Peralta, would prefer that he stays, and all indications are that Tomas comes back as well
Btw, I’m not suggesting that Lamb or Inciarte are poor players, but that I can’t see anyone giving up a TOR type pitcher for a corner infielder with below average power, or a high average, decent OBP, low power corner outfielder