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.