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Inbox: When will top prospect Bradley arrive?

Beat reporter Steve Gilbert answers questions from D-backs fans

How come Randall Delgado was chosen over Archie Bradley for the rotation? Bradley is far and away a better pitcher and appeared to me to be ready for the big leagues this year. Does this have something to do with his contract status? Is it more of a business decision than a baseball one?
-- Paul N., Norman, Okla.

To answer your second question first, Paul, I don't believe the decision to start Bradley in Triple-A was a business decision. I'm guessing by "business decision" you mean an effort to delay when Bradley would be eligible for salary arbitration and free agency. While it can be a smart move to delay calling up a player because of that, the D-backs under general manager Kevin Towers have never shown an inclination to do that.

I think they honestly felt that Bradley needed a little more development time after his final two outings of the spring. I don't think there's any question that Bradley is one of the best pitching prospects in the game, and I would say it's safe to assume that he will be in the big leagues at some point this year. The biggest keys for him right now are to continue to master his fastball command while also improving his changeup. Again, I think you will see Bradley in the big leagues sooner rather than later.

Why would you give Towers and manager Kirk Gibson contract extensions? The team has been mediocre for two years and this year is not looking good either. Couldn't they have waited? How many years are their contracts for now?
-- Karl H., Phoenix

When ownership decided to give both Towers and Gibson extensions, they said at the time that it was to promote continuity and to remove the speculation that would have inevitably swirled around both throughout the season. If you believe in your GM and manager -- and it seems they do -- then it makes sense to not have them going into the final year of their contracts. In an effort to avoid such speculation in the future, the D-backs decided not to announce how long the extensions were for, so in theory, we won't know when they go into the final year of their respective deals.

With the injury to Patrick Corbin and Delgado's struggles, who do we have in the Minor Leagues that could come up and help in the rotation?
-- Sheila K., Phoenix

I would imagine the team will give Delgado another couple of starts before deciding to make a change. If he does not improve his breaking ball, it is certainly possible at some point that the D-backs will try him in the bullpen, because a pitcher can get away with having only two pitches -- in his case, a fastball and an excellent changeup -- easier than a starting pitcher can. As for who might be candidates for an eventual callup, Towers told us the other day that Bradley, Bo Schultz and Mike Bolsinger would be up for consideration. Charles Brewer is another guy to keep an eye on if he has a good start to the season.

What is going to happen to the roster when Cody Ross comes back from the disabled list?
-- Peter B., San Francisco

A lot depends on how the pitching staff is doing when Ross is ready to be activated. Right now, Arizona is carrying 13 pitchers and just 12 position players. Most teams carry the opposite -- 13 position players and 12 pitchers. I would think the D-backs would send down one of the relievers when Ross is activated, but if their starters are still struggling to pitch deep in games, which puts a stress on the bullpen, Arizona may decide it needs the extra pitching.

Why is Didi Gregorius not playing shortstop at Triple-A Reno right now?
-- Tyler K., Las Vegas

The D-backs are using Gregorius both at second base and short while he's with Reno. Nick Ahmed, another outstanding defensive shortstop, will switch off between short and second with Gregorius. The organization feels that will increase Gregorius' versatility.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks