During his September web chat with fans, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall chatted about possible callups, flying under the radar, Justin Upton's MVP-worthy season and the job Kevin Towers has done building the team.
Derrick_Hall: Hello all. Thanks for joining me today for the chat. Exciting times for sure. We will get started and will go for about a half hour.
schuetze: Hi. I am from Germany. I wake up every night to watch my D-backs playing on MLB.TV, most at 2 or 3 am. Do you think we can win the World Series?
Derrick_Hall: We thank you for your support overseas. That is great to know. I believe in this team, because they have been grinders all season. But first things first -- we need to earn the right by winning the division.
SunDevils84: Paul Goldschmidt has impressed me, and I'm sure a lot of people in the D-backs organization, with his play since being called up this year. With his performance thus far, has he locked up the first-base spot for next year, or will Juan Miranda and others compete for the job?
Derrick_Hall: He is sure making a strong statement and will be an important piece to the future success of our club. But it is always nice to have depth and competition in Spring Training. It worked for us at several positions this past spring.
schuetze: Are you thinking of picking up the option for Aaron Hill for 2012 and '13? I think he is a very good player and can help us the next few years.
Derrick_Hall: Not a decision we have to make until after the season, but I agree, he has been terrific. Playing well offensively and defensively, and obviously thrilled to be in this pennant race. This was an opportunity that he was not going to have in Toronto this season.
bizzob: Do the D-backs plan on getting involved with any of the marquee free agents in the offseason, for example Pujols, Fielder, Reyes?
Derrick_Hall: We are not allowed to mention names of players under contract elsewhere, but we will always shop free agents. Names that you mentioned would likely be out of price range -- that is just the reality of a controllable budget in a market our size. But Kevin Towers will be very busy looking to improve our club through trades or free agency. I feel safe with him behind the wheel.
sailor586: What will Gibby do to ensure that this young team will stay focused with a seven-game lead and 19 to go?
Derrick_Hall: There is no doubt in my mind that he will continue to keep them focused. He has all season long, and they respond so well to he and the coaching staff.
ohiobrew: Is there a realistic possibility of seeing Bauer, Parker and Skaggs on the big league roster in 2012?
Derrick_Hall: They are talented enough to compete for spots. I would not rule out Pat Corbin either. We are fortunate to have the depth we do in the system at starting pitching. I credit Jerry DiPoto and Ray Montgomery for that. Our Double-A rotation is arguably the best in Minor League baseball.
drewbacker: How much thought has been given to next year's starting pitching staff, like the contract situation for Saunders and others? It seems like there is a lot of young talent knocking at the door.
Derrick_Hall: There is a ton of talent. Joe has been terrific and consistent this season. Believe me, there is a lot of talk regarding him and all other potential starters.
vindeaz: World Series Reunion vs. ASU-Missouri, and SF and Roberts bobbles vs. ASU-USC ... aaarrrggghhh! Thanks for letting me get that out. And yes, I will be at Chase both nights (don't tell the Alumni Assoc!)
Derrick_Hall: Outstanding message! Glad you chose us -- these players deserve the crowd support. We should have some really big crowds this weekend.
snwrites: How will the re-addition of Robby Hammock help the D-backs get to the postseason and keep winning?
Derrick_Hall: Catching depth and someone who has been there with experience. He is a wonderful guy and adds to the character and chemistry.
drewbacker: Your comment in Spring Training that the D-backs could challenge for the NL West title drew a lot of chuckles at the time. How are you feeling about it now?
Derrick_Hall: It sure did, but I can understand why after the 97 losses. I just had a different feeling with this coaching staff and the hard work everyone was putting in during the spring. The rally cry "Why Not Us?" began then. But we are still humble this season, as well as focused. We have enjoyed flying below the radar.
vindeaz: KT seems to have a Midas touch at times (Hill, McDonald, calling up Goldy) but his ability to admit mistakes and fix them as soon as possible is refreshing and seldom seen in a GM. I think you have a keeper there! Your thoughts?
Derrick_Hall: I KNOW I have a keeper. You are so right with your assessment. He is never afraid to say that one of his moves is not working and move in another direction quickly. I have always considered him one of the best in the game and am obviously thrilled that he is with us.
taiwanyes: Do you think Goldy is a one-tool player as Keith Law said?
Derrick_Hall: I would argue that one all day long, as would his fellow infielders. He has been great for us defensively, and has shown some pretty good speed on the basepaths, considering his size. I am also impressed with his approach at the plate now, as he has adjusted nicely to offspeed pitches.
cbake150: What are your feelings on Justin Upton being considered a MVP candidate?
Derrick_Hall: I know I am biased, but I believe strongly that he belongs in the conversations. He has carried this team through several parts of our season. I feel even stronger that Ian Kennedy should get strong consideration for Cy Young, as well as Kevin Towers for Executive of the Year and Gibby for Manager of the Year. I think it would be a complete shame if Gibby does not win.
drewbacker: What is the latest with the D-backs possibly switching to the AL? Sure hope it never happens, I love NL baseball.
Derrick_Hall: I don't think it will ever happen. MLB knows that we want to stay in the NL, and we are enjoying the rivalries that we have built.
sirsimon: D-BACKS NL WEST CHAMPIONS! WOOOHOOO! PRETTY COOL TO HAVE MADE IT SO FAR WHEN ALL THE EXPERTS SAID WE WOULDN'T!
Derrick_Hall: We still have a ways to go, but we love all of the excitement that we are sensing from our fans.
zoni67: When should we arrive for Saturday's game?
Derrick_Hall: So glad you asked. We are recommending that fans be in their seats by 4:15, so plan accordingly. Please know that the gates will be extra busy with the size of crowd and ring giveaway. Gates will be opening a half hour early at 2:00 for season-ticket holders and 2:30 for all other guests.
mitch_what: Is the lack of national recognition motivating, frustrating, or neither?
Derrick_Hall: Depends what seat you are in. I find it frustrating, but I would bet you that Gibby prefers it. He never wants distractions and likes his players just to focus, prepare and execute.
SunDevils84: What do you think about a Sean Burroughs boxing action figure night? That guy is the biggest cheerleader in the dugout. I can't get enough of him.
Derrick_Hall: We love that energy. He is a terrific teammate, and yes, you are correct, cheerleader!
theruch: I commend you on your fantastic attempts of marketing and promoting to attempt to get fans to come to the games. What other ideas do you have in your arsenal to help garner that home field advantage and gives this team a crowd they truly deserve?
Derrick_Hall: Thank you so much. I believe we will be fine now throughout the rest of the season with large crowds. Fans are excited about this team and have bought in.
grannykay: Mr. Hall, thanks for doing such a great job over the past year of hiring quality folks. The team and coaching staff are fun to watch. I am almost 70 -- have been to a few games and am ready for playoff action.
Derrick_Hall: That is kind of you. I am very proud of all of our employees, from game-day staff to front office personnel. We believe strongly that we treat our fans better than any team in sports and will continue to do so.
froswin: Years past, we used to leave at the seventh inning. With this team, we know there is always something going to happen. Such excitement. Thanks!
Derrick_Hall: It is a much different team. Kevin has built a competitive product with different contributors every game. We do come back often in games, which is a sign of a gritty group of players who believe in themselves and their manager.
freeland87: Do 2011 season-ticket holders have a priority for playoff tickets or does that apply only to the 2012 renewals?
Derrick_Hall: Of course they do!
tk4life: Loving what the D-backs have done this year, but I am disappointed in the lack of old-school retaliation to Justin Upton being hit so often ... a few are mistakes, but most are intentionally a foot inside! Don't you think Kirk needs to make a statement?
Derrick_Hall: I am proud of Justin for not. We certainly do not need any suspensions right now. I like how we keep our focus and continue to retaliate with the bat and the final score.
Derrick_Hall: I cannot believe this half hour flew by already. Thanks to all of you and I apologize for not being able to get to so many great questions. Remember to be here early Saturday, and we hope to see you for the remaining games. Go D-backs! Why not us?