What are the chances of Kris Bryant coming to D-backs?
-- Federico Ramos, Sonoyta, Sonora
The short answer is I don’t think there’s been much talk about this happening, and I believe that the Cubs' ask in return for Bryant would be very high. So while I would say I don’t think this could happen, I also want to acknowledge that general manager Mike Hazen and his baseball operations staff are very creative and have pulled off moves in the past that were surprising. One of the great strengths of the Arizona front office is the fact that they are open to all kinds of different possibilities. For instance, last July, they didn’t start out with the idea that they would trade Zack Greinke, but when it became apparent they could get a couple of starters in other trades -- Zac Gallen and Mike Leake -- as well as four prospects they were high on from the Astros, they were flexible enough to make the deal.
Still, I think the chances of Bryant coming to the D-backs are slim.
Are the D-backs looking for starting pitching upgrades still or are they content with the current rotation? Any guesses as to who might be on the D-backs' radar if they are still looking to upgrade?
-- Daniel H., Tempe, Ariz.
I think they’re done for the most part in terms of starting pitching at this point, unless they were to trade Robbie Ray, which looks less and less likely by the day. They have some starting pitching depth right now. If you assume the first four starters in the rotation are Madison Bumgarner, Ray, Luke Weaver and Leake, then there’s a lot of competition for that final spot. That includes Gallen, Merrill Kelly, Alex Young, Taylor Clarke, Jon Duplantier, Taylor Widener. So I don’t think they will invest any more capital -- talent or money -- in acquiring another starter at the moment.
Hi Steve, I would be keen to understand if the D-backs are any closer to extending Robbie Ray and Nick Ahmed.
-- Gavin R., Beerwah Australia
First Gavin, we are thinking about you all over there with these terrible fires. I really enjoyed my brief time in Australia covering the D-backs-Dodgers series there in 2014 -- such a beautiful country and wonderful people.
As for the extensions, I still think that an extension for Ray is less likely. Given that Ahmed and the D-backs have exchanged arbitration figures already, I don’t know that I’m overly optimistic at this point that they will reach an extension.
Varsho, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the club's No. 5 prospect, played a little bit of center field during the Double-A playoffs last season and the D-backs liked what they saw of him out there. The plan right now, though, is for him to focus his efforts behind the plate. It’s possible that he could once again see some time in the outfield or possibly second base, but I don’t think you’ll see him at second base in the big leagues this year. I still think it’s possible the D-backs could acquire a second baseman before Opening Day, but if not you’re looking at Eduardo Escobar, Josh Rojas, Ildemaro Vargas, Andy Young and Pat Valaika as players who could see time there.
What are your expectations for the D-backs this year?
-- Jordan, UK
I certainly think the D-backs have reason to be optimistic about a possible postseason berth in 2020. The addition of Bumgarner is a big plus for them, Kole Calhoun is an upgrade in right, Weaver should be healthy, and Gallen, who was very impressive in the second half, could be poised for a breakout. There are a lot of factors that will go into it, the biggest being health -- because while the D-backs have added to their depth, it would still be hard for them to overcome an injury to one of their key contributors.