I keep reading that the D-backs have shown some of the most interest in Manny Machado. Is that real?
-- Ethan, Phoenix
There were a bunch of questions similar to this, wondering why the D-backs would be interested in Machado, and I think it was a matter of them doing due diligence to see if there could be a fit. Machado appears to be staying in Baltimore now, so it's a moot point, but the D-backs obviously realize he's an outstanding player and probably felt they needed to at least check to see what it would have taken to acquire him.
What kind of return could we be looking at for guys like Zack Greinke, A.J. Pollock, Patrick Corbin or Brandon Drury? I know we need bullpen help, but could this be to help clear the way for a long-term contract for Goldy? If so, could Pavin Smith be included in a deal?
-- PJ, South Bend, Ind.
Of the players you mentioned, I would think Corbin and Drury would probably be the most likely candidates to go in a trade. Keep in mind, the D-backs plan on contending again in 2018, so trading Greinke, their ace, is a tough sell. Add in the fact that they would likely have to pick up some of the money he's owed to move him and you can see where it gets complicated.
Moving Pollock seems unlikely given that the D-backs are already short in the outfield as it is. They can save over $8 million by trading Corbin, but they are on record as saying if they trade one of their five starters, they're going to want to know that they have a path to acquire a replacement.
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Drury is one of Arizona's more attractive trade pieces in that he's a pre-arbitration-eligible player, so he doesn't make a lot of money and he's already shown he can play in the big leagues. While the D-backs have a glut of infielders, they're not going to move Drury just to move him. They would need to get a good return. As for extending Paul Goldschmidt, he's under contract this year with a club option for 2019, so there is no urgency for the D-backs to do anything at this point, nor are they likely to.
Catcher has been identified as critical to the success of the D-backs. What's the plan with Chris Iannetta gone?
-- Bob, Oro Valley, Ariz.
Bob, there's no question that Iannetta is a big loss for the D-backs. He brought a lot of offense to the position while playing well behind the plate as well. Right now Arizona has catchers Jeff Mathis, Chris Herrmann and John Ryan Murphy on the roster. I have to believe that the club makes a move somehow to add to that. When we asked GM Mike Hazen about it at the Winter Meetings, he pointed out that the organization puts a premium on defense behind the plate, and any offense that a catcher provides is a bonus. Hazen also said the D-backs were comfortable going into the season with those three guys. I would be surprised, though, if they didn't add someone.