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3 questions for D-backs to ponder this offseason

October 28, 2017

PHOENIX -- The World Series marks the end of the 2017 season, but it's also when the Hot Stove begins to heat up with each team setting its eyes toward '18.In 2017, the D-backs qualified for the postseason for the first time since '11, but an early exit in the

PHOENIX -- The World Series marks the end of the 2017 season, but it's also when the Hot Stove begins to heat up with each team setting its eyes toward '18.
In 2017, the D-backs qualified for the postseason for the first time since '11, but an early exit in the National League Division Series at the hands of the division-rival Dodgers made it clear that there is still work to be done if they hope to go further in '18.
Here's a look at who the D-backs' free agents and arbitration-eligible players are along with three questions facing the team this offseason.
Free agents: Outfielders Gregor Blanco and J.D. Martinez, lefty Jorge De La Rosa, righties David Hernandez and Fernando Rodney, catcher Chris Iannetta, infielder Adam Rosales.
Arbitration-eligible players: Lefties Patrick Corbin, T.J. McFarland, Andrew Chafin and Robbie Ray; righties Randall Delgado, Shelby Miller, J.J. Hoover and Taijuan Walker; catcher Chris Herrmann; shortstops Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed; outfielders A.J. Pollock and David Peralta; third baseman Jake Lamb.

Should the D-backs re-sign J.D?
There's little question the D-backs would like to bring back Martinez, who hit 29 homers for the D-backs after a mid-July trade from the Tigers. The question is, can they make it work in their budget?
Given his production, Martinez could get a contract that pays him $20-plus million a year. Looking at the D-backs' current payroll, they have $60 million committed for next season with another $52 million that could end up being owed to 14 arbitration-eligible players, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
That would make it likely that the D-backs would either have to move some money or greatly exceed their previous payroll budgets if they hope to bring Martinez back.
What do the D-backs do with all the arbitration-eligible players?
As mentioned earlier, the D-backs have a big group of players eligible for arbitration, and they'll have some decisions to make about them. Relievers like Hoover and McFarland could be non-tender candidates, while Herrmann might be as well.

If the D-backs are looking to move money in order to afford Martinez (or someone else), Corbin and Pollock could be candidates. MLBTradeRumors.com projects the pair to earn $8.3 million and $8.5 million, respectively, next year.
Who is the closer and what is Archie's role?
Rodney saved 39 games in 45 chances last season, and he was a mentor to some of the team's younger relievers. Rodney signed a one-year contract for $2.75 million plus incentives last offseason. He'll turn 41 during Spring Training next year, and the D-backs will need to decide whether it makes sense to bring him back for 2018.
What could influence that decision is what role Archie Bradley best fits into. A starter coming up through the Minors, Bradley was shifted to the bullpen when he lost out on a rotation job last spring.

While he excelled as a setup man for Rodney, Bradley has made no secret of his desire to one day start again. The D-backs have to decide if they view him as a starter or reliever. If they do see Bradley as a reliever, they then have to decide if he should he take over for Rodney.

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