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Inbox: What direction are D-backs going?

Beat reporter Steve Gilbert answers questions from fans
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

Have the D-backs truly decided on a direction? Are the Kelby Tomlinson and Merrill Kelly signings bridge players or depth pieces? It sounds like they don't want to bottom out, but why? Why the inclination to want only a half-hearted rebuild instead of going full Astros?
-- James, Phoenix

They do not plan on doing a full teardown. By trading Paul Goldschmidt and losing Patrick Corbin and (likely) A.J. Pollock to free agency they know they face challenges in the upcoming season. They are hoping to remain competitive next year while also accumulating talent for the future. I know it's easy to point to the Astros and Cubs as success stories, but there are also teams that have tried to do it and haven't been able to pull it off.

Have the D-backs truly decided on a direction? Are the Kelby Tomlinson and Merrill Kelly signings bridge players or depth pieces? It sounds like they don't want to bottom out, but why? Why the inclination to want only a half-hearted rebuild instead of going full Astros?
-- James, Phoenix

They do not plan on doing a full teardown. By trading Paul Goldschmidt and losing Patrick Corbin and (likely) A.J. Pollock to free agency they know they face challenges in the upcoming season. They are hoping to remain competitive next year while also accumulating talent for the future. I know it's easy to point to the Astros and Cubs as success stories, but there are also teams that have tried to do it and haven't been able to pull it off.

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Are the D-backs planning on adding any other starting pitching after the Kelly signing? Perhaps Sonny Gray?
-- James, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Starting pitching was at the top of their to-do list when the offseason started. Now that they added Kelly and Luke Weaver, GM Mike Hazen said he is turning his attention to finding a center fielder and adding to the bullpen. Besides Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, Weaver and Kelly, the D-backs expect Taijuan Walker to return in May after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. They also have some young pitchers in the system that could be knocking on the door during the season as well.

Do you think the D-backs trade David Peralta this offseason?
-- Jared, Phoenix

It doesn't sound like that is something they are planning on at this point. That could certainly change, but as of now I don't see them continuing to sell off pieces.

Why did the D-backs sign Eduardo Escobar to an extension when it's pretty obvious that the next year or so they won't be competing for a playoff spot?
-- Zack, Rockford, Ill.

First, they got a great deal with the Escobar signing. Also, by signing him they opened up all kinds of possibilities with the roster. They could move Jake Lamb to first to replace Goldschmidt and have Escobar play third. Or if they move Ketel Marte to center to replace Pollock they could put Escobar at second. He gives them lots of different options as they retool.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks