Inbox: Are D-backs in the running for Tanaka?
Beat reporter Steve Gilbert answers offseason questions from Arizona fans
What are the chances the Diamondbacks land [Masahiro] Tanaka? He would be a perfect fit, and it seems the team has money to spend, so it makes sense.
-- Max P., Phoenix
I really would not get your hopes up about the D-backs landing Tanaka. The cost to acquire him figures to be astronomical. Forget about the $20 million posting fee, he could command upwards of $100 million to sign after that. The D-backs are not cheap -- their payroll figures to be over $100 million this year -- but to make that kind of commitment to a pitcher would be, I think, very tough for them to do. Look for the D-backs to make a run at him, but I would keep those expectations tempered.
If Spring Training started today, who would be the Opening Day shortstop?
-- Paul C., Scottsdale, Ariz.
If neither player is traded, D-backs general manager Kevin Towers has said Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings will battle during the spring for the starting job, with the Cliff Pennington staying as the backup. It will be an interesting battle to watch, if it happens. There's also the possibility that one of the teams out there looking for a shortstop will circle back to the D-backs with a trade offer for Gregorius or Owings. If they're both still with the organization, then one likely starts the year at Triple-A Reno, which would mean that shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed would be back at Double-A Mobile for another season.
Should we expect to see Archie [Bradley] in the rotation at the start of the season?
-- Carl S., Phoenix
Bradley is going to compete for a spot in the spring, and the D-backs have said that if he is one of their best five, they will keep him. A lot of teams are hesitant to keep a rookie like Bradley on the roster at the start of the season because if they were to keep him in the Minors initially, it slows down his salary-arbitration clock. Towers is on record saying that the clock will not be a consideration when it comes to whether or not Bradley starts the year in the big leagues. It's hard to be against a guy like Bradley, because not only is he extremely talented, but he's also an extreme competitor. Whether his changeup is refined enough for him to stick remains to be seen, but he could give the D-backs a really tough decision to make come the end of spring.