During a November web chat with fans, club president and CEO Derrick Hall discussed competing next season in the tough National League West and the D-backs playing to their capabilities. He also discussed areas of the roster that need to be addressed during the offseason, as well as the club's areas of strength.
Derrick_Hall: Good afternoon D-backs fans. Ready to get under way. Thanks for participating.
tdog19: Mr. Hall, which area needs the most work right now? The infield or the outfield?
Derrick_Hall: We are still looking to strengthen the left side of our infield. Outfield still needs some addressing, but not necessarily from an acquisition standpoint. More so managing the abundance of players we have there now.
Dbacks133: What changes at Chase Field are being done for next year, inside and outside the stadium?
Derrick_Hall: We have several capital improvement projects planned as we do every offseason. The most obvious will be a new restaurant concept on the plaza in the building that was previously home to Sliders. We will be addressing other fan-friendly needs regarding the ballpark at our annual management retreat next week in Sedona.
tdog19: Will Heath Bell take over as the main closer?
Derrick_Hall: No. He brings added depth to an already strong bullpen. The plan now would be for Bell to be our seventh-inning guy, with David Hernandez in the eighth and J.J. Putz in the ninth. It is a luxury to have three guys who all have some closing experience, though.
mellis77: I have heard rumors of the D-backs playing in Australia for a game in 2014. Any truth to that?
Derrick_Hall: No truth at this point. We have been asked by Major League Baseball in the past if we would consider opening overseas, and we said we would always be willing to bring international exposure to MLB and the D-backs. Tremendous exposure, and usually the openers for the entire regular season are on global TV.
ghostgirl5: Recently, I was in Rocky Point and happened to catch several of the Mexican League games on TV. That got me wondering -- are there any players from the D-backs organization participating in Winter Ball?
Derrick_Hall: We have quite a few playing Fall League and winter ball, such as Matt Davidson, Chris Owings, Chase Anderson, Evan Marshall, Kevin Munson, Tyler Bortnick, Eric Smith (all in Fall League), Rossmel Perez (in Venezuela), Gerson Montilla (in Venezuela), Ender Inciarte (in Venezuela), Alfredo Marte (in the D.R.), Yonata Ortega (in the D.R.) and Eury De La Rosa (in the D.R.).
buzzdennis: With your trip to Japan earlier this year, what's the likelihood that the team looks to fill some of its holes from the crop of NPB free agents?
Derrick_Hall: We looked at a couple of prominent ones while there, and will likely have some conversations. Clearly, international scouting is a big part of who we are and where we are going. In fact, we will be officially announcing soon the hiring of Craig Shipley, who will have a major role there as an assistant to Kevin Towers.
vindeaz: Thanks for holding these chats each month, they are fun and informative! Does declining the options of Henry Blanco and Matt Lindstrom signal their end as D-backs, or might you try to resign at a lesser figure?
Derrick_Hall: They are both terrific guys, and we still have the ability to negotiate with them now as free agents.
DDBackfann: What are the D-backs' plans for a fan favorite like Willie Bloomquist?
Derrick_Hall: Fortunately, he is still on our roster! I personally love having a Sun Devil here, and can understand why he is a fan favorite. He plays hard every game and gets that uniform dirty.
vindeaz: Was very sorry to see CY go. Is the plan to make center field Adam Eaton's job to lose?
Derrick_Hall: Eaton showed he could do the job for the short time we watched him up here, but there will be options going into Spring Training. Gerardo Parra should always be in discussions when considering outfield starters.
foxfan: Hello, Derrick. The SF Giants, as you know, just won the World Series after being last in the league in home runs. KT has commented that the Diamondbacks are too reliant on the home run. What steps will the team take to address this?
Derrick_Hall: It just goes to show that strong pitching and defense usually wins out, which is how we are trying to build this club.
1hipster: What is the status of Daniel Hudson? Is he a part of the plan for 2013?
Derrick_Hall: It is a relatively long recovery from Tommy John. He is doing very well, but we cannot expect to see Daniel until at least the midway point of the 2013 season.
tbarks6: With the need for a lefty in the 'pen, are there any thoughts on bringing Joe Patterson back?
Derrick_Hall: Joe would definitely be in the mix, as would Minor League sensation Eury De La Rosa.
wattwizard: What do you feel are our most critical needs for the team to make us better for next season?
Derrick_Hall: Most of the pieces are, and were, there. We need to play like we did the season before. We need to win the one-run games and have more success close and late in ball games. This is a very talented group. We will need to play smarter and make fewer baserunning mistakes to compete to the level we know we can.
MichaelJay: I appreciate your open approach to your past health issues. How are you doing lately?
Derrick_Hall: I appreciate your concern and question. My numbers are still detectable, which is always concerning and may require future treatment, such as radiation. Whatever it takes, we will deal with, and without fear. You give me another opportunity to remind men to be tested for prostate cancer. Early detection is the key.
vindeaz: With what you just said about the bullpen, seventh, eighth and ninth, where does that leave Brad Ziegler?
With Matt Albers, to be used in the sixth or later when other guys are not available. It should be the strength of our team again.
azbeach: It seems like our division is gaining significant strength, and from all appearances, up and down the line, we are going to be challenged. What do you see as the key to competing and winning the NL West?
Derrick_Hall: You are so right. Every team will be better, and our schedule is extremely challenging next year. We just need to play to our capabilities.
bnowinaz: How much of a concern is it to have a starter or two who can go deeper into games?
Derrick_Hall: With young arms, it definitely is, which is why we found it so important to add strength to the bullpen through our recent trade again.
stevegiannini: What is happening with Matt Williams and his talks with the Blue Jays? Will he be back next year?
Derrick_Hall: I hope he will be back, but we would never stand in his way if he were offered a managerial job. If not this offseason, it is just a matter of time. Says a lot about the talent we have within our coaching staff.
foxfan: Congratulations on the two new additions to the broadcast team. How were you able to convince Bob Brenly to come back?
Derrick_Hall: Thank you very much. I look forward to introducing them to the public at our scheduled news conference Monday afternoon. They are both very talented and I am thrilled that Bob agreed to come home.
Derrick_Hall: That is all of the time we have. Again, thanks so much for being a part of these and for supporting this franchise so enthusiastically. I look forward to being with you all at next month's chat. Go D-backs!