What's your take on the back end of the D-backs' bullpen? Is Archie Bradley the answer at closer? There are some high-quality closers available on the open market. Do you see the team having the financial flexibility to land one and keep Archie in the high-leverage spot he serviced so
What's your take on the back end of the D-backs' bullpen? Is Archie Bradley the answer at closer? There are some high-quality closers available on the open market. Do you see the team having the financial flexibility to land one and keep Archie in the high-leverage spot he serviced so superbly in 2017?
-- Ryan, Scottsdale, Ariz.
I would be very surprised if they spent a lot of money on a closer. As it stands now, Bradley could be used in a closer's role or in high-leverage situations (such as the Indians' Andrew Miller), with Brad Boxberger closing. If the D-backs are able to find an affordable closer via trade, or if one falls to them in the free-agent market like Fernando Rodney did last year, then they still have the flexibility to use Boxberger and Bradley in different roles. Keep in mind one of the reasons Rodney signed with the D-backs last year is because they were able to tell him that he was going to be their closer. They could do that again this year, which is why GM Mike Hazen talks about wanting to have "flexibility" in building the bullpen.
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What are the chances of J.D. Martinez returning?
-- Laura Marie, Aurora, Ill.
My opinion on this has not changed. I don't see any way they can fit Martinez into their payroll structure if he gets the $200 million deal that he is reportedly seeking. They would love to have his bat, but given the payroll situation, I don't see it happening.
What are the realistic solutions to the hole J.D. leaves in the D-backs' lineup?
-- Kyle, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Yasmany Tomas is expected to be healthy after missing most of last season, and he will get some of those at-bats. The D-backs will probably look to trade for a controllable outfielder this offseason, but obviously replacing the prodigious production Martinez provided last year will be extremely difficult.
What's the possibility of trading Paul Goldschmidt?
-- Matt, Phoenix
Less than zero percent. No, seriously, I can't see that happening. I know Goldschmidt would bring a huge return, but it doesn't make sense for a team that is planning on contending in 2018 to trade away its cornerstone player. If the D-backs were stripping down the roster and doing a complete rebuild, that's a different story. But that's clearly not where they're at.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.