Kendrick, Hall discuss 2023 outlook, stadium, more

February 21st, 2023

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs had their first full-squad workout of the spring Monday and afterward, managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall spoke to the media. Below are some of the highlights of what they discussed.

On how ownership felt about how the offseason went for the D-backs:

Ken Kendrick: I feel very good about the offseason. We added some talent in areas where I think we needed to help ourselves. I think we came into the offseason -- before we made any moves -- with what we thought is an exciting young team based on how they played toward the end of last season. And we wanted to improve in certain areas and we hope we will have done that. I’m pretty excited about where we are, and I think we're going to be a very competitive team this year.

On the expectation for attendance this year at Chase Field:

Kendrick: I think we're robust in terms of where our attendance may go. It's a combination of getting through the [pandemic] era that we've just been through and winning ballgames. Winning games puts fans in the stands, and that's what we want to do.

On whether they are close to making a decision about staying at Chase Field or moving somewhere else in Maricopa County:

Derrick Hall: Nothing has really changed yet. Obviously, we're getting to a critical moment as our lease expiration is coming closer. There's a lot of moving parts. We're still looking at what other options there might be in Maricopa County, not outside of Maricopa County, and there's been some interested parties but again, it took a little bit of a backseat for a while with everything that was going on with the lockout and with the pandemic years and now we'll start accelerating that process again.

Is the preference to stay in downtown Phoenix?

Hall: All things equal, being downtown is important to us. We have a history there. You know, Ken is the largest investor in Cityscape and has invested personally in downtown to make sure that it thrives. I love the fact that we do have more apartments and we have more people moving in residentially downtown. When there's a lot of activity at either of the facilities on any given night, it's a good thing. And so I like the fact that downtown continues to grow. People are looking forward to moving downtown or visiting downtown for those reasons. It makes a lot of sense for us to want to see if there's a solution there to stay.

Kendrick: From the owner’s standpoint, we're prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars. We're not looking for a handout. We're prepared to put a lot of ownership money into our next stadium situation whether it be the downtown setting or perhaps a ballpark somewhere in the Valley that would be a brand new one. So a lot of energy has been spent over several years trying to get to a place where we feel we can do something that is economically viable for us and good for our fans, and we're not there yet.

Will GM Mike Hazen will have payroll flexibility come the Trade Deadline?

Kendrick: We’ve increased our payroll near 30% [above last year] to get the season going and what we hope is that we will be competitive as the deadline comes and will be in a position where they want to add to the team to make it even more competitive. If the team is competitive and has the chance to play in October is there, we're going to spend more money to get there.

On what manager Torey Lovullo, who is entering the final year of his contract, has to do to earn an extension:

Hall: I think Torey did a great job last year taking a step forward. He's been very good. What he continues to show us is that he's a player's manager. They love playing for him. They’d go through a wall for him, he's a great communicator. Going along the same path that he has been, seeing the improvement that we had -- to have a 20-plus win improvement over the year before -- that was tremendous.

I think doing his thing and making sure that we're competitive ... meaningful games in September obviously matter too, but we're pleased with Torey, we’re very happy with Torey.