How much did A.J. Pollock's age and injury history play into their decision to not even really try to re-sign him? Are the D-backs now in a position where they will not sign a big-money free agent unless the player is in his 20s to guard against declining play in
How much did A.J. Pollock's age and injury history play into their decision to not even really try to re-sign him? Are the D-backs now in a position where they will not sign a big-money free agent unless the player is in his 20s to guard against declining play in mid-30s?
-- Larry, Mesa, Ariz.
When considering signing a player to a multiyear deal, all the factors you mentioned come into play, and I'm sure in this case it was no different. But I think the real sticking point was not so much any one of those factors or Pollock's age. I think it was more about the team having some payroll flexibility going forward. There's no getting around the fact that the money owed to Zack Greinke over the next three years is a factor in every decision -- including the one to trade Paul Goldschmidt.
In addition, you have players getting further into the salary-arbitration process -- like Jake Lamb, Robbie Ray, David Peralta -- and each year they get more expensive. That will no doubt come to a head here in the next few years. When the D-backs get a little more payroll flexibility, I would not rule them out in signing a free agent. Though, this front-office regime is more likely to be cautious about committing massive dollars to one player than previous ones might have been.
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Did the D-backs have a chance to match the Dodgers' offer to Pollock?
-- Shelvin M., Gilbert, Ariz.
Once Pollock turned down the D-backs' qualifying offer, I think the only realistic chance they had of bringing him back was if his market collapsed for whatever reason and he was looking to come back on a short-term deal.
Who do you believe could become the next star on this team?
-- Jordan W., Barnsley, United Kingdom
First, thanks for following all the way from the U.K. This question is a really tough one to answer. Think about this: Who predicted that Goldschmidt was going to be the team's star? Certainly not many when he was drafted in the eighth round, and there were doubters throughout his time in the Minors. For now, I'd predict that Archie Bradley will get the bulk of the attention because of his personality and willingness to interact with fans (as well as his talent, of course).
Do you think any new/big trades or acquistions are coming to the D-backs soon?
-- Tim, Phoenix
I don't think there will be any "big" moves per se before the start of camp. I do expect that the D-backs may add a bullpen piece or two before that, but they appear to be done when it comes to position players and starting pitchers.
Would the D-backs consider Wilmer Flores at first, Eduardo Escobar at second, Nick Ahmed at short and Lamb at third? I feel like that would be a better defensive alignment. Do you think they will test some alignments out in Spring Training, or are they set with Lamb at first?
-- Tyson, Phoenix
They seem to be set with Lamb getting the majority of the playing time at first base, though I guess that could change if he doesn't seem to be able to handle the position. I think he's going to be fine. I get why people would rather see Flores at first than second, based on some of the defensive metrics, but I think right now the plan is for him to get the bulk of the playing time at second.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.