D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall fielded questions from fans as the full squad reported to camp today. Hall talked about the competition at shortstop, catcher and for the rotation, the goals for 2013 and the team chemistry.
Derrick_Hall: Welcome to this month's chat. Camp has been going great. We started today off with the recording of a Harlem Shake. I know I am not cool and out of the loop when my staff had to explain what it was first.
espiescott: Went to my first Fan Fest. Had a great time. Thank you.
Derrick_Hall: Thanks for attending and for your support. Fan Fest gets better and better each year. It is another wonderful opportunity for our players and coaches to interact with our great fans.
bloski1: Thank you for your comments yesterday about making the D-backs experience affordable. Are there any plans to lower season ticket prices with the same benefits season tickets have now for those who would like to purchase them?
Derrick_Hall: Thanks. We continue to have the most affordable ticket pricing in the game. We will always challenge ourselves to do so. We have great pricing on seasons, but we also have many partial and mini plans that can be purchased now. For information, check dbacks.com/tickets.
tdog19: Is Jason Kubel staying put?
Derrick_Hall: Yes he is. I would say our moves are done at this point.
tdog19: Now that Justin Upton is gone, what is the outfield going to look like?
Derrick_Hall: We will have four outfielders who will share time this season. Names being mentioned now include Adam Eaton, Gerardo Parra, Jason Kubel and Cody Ross. But A.J. Pollock will be in the competition as well.
Edmonds15: Good afternoon Mr. Hall and thank you for taking our questions. It is reported that Tyler Skaggs added over 20 pounds this winter with a weight lifting program. The hard work is impressive but does this concern you?
Derrick_Hall: I'd say it is closer to 15 pounds, and seems to be muscle. He is still young and growing. We are not concerned. In fact, we are encouraged. He seemed to have worn down at the end of last season due to the workload. Adding the weight will only help his durability.
tdog19: Has the fifth player in the starting rotation of pitchers been decided?
Derrick_Hall: No it has not, and will likely not be decided until the end of spring. The competition will likely be between Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado.
Edmonds15: In January of 2012 the D-backs goal was to improve their base running. What goal(s) have you set for 2013?
Derrick_Hall: And our base-running still needs improvement. We have also focused on getting back to never giving up and playing hard for 27 outs, in addition to being more effective close and late in games.
tdog19: Is Adam Eaton back from his injury?
Derrick_Hall: Completely healed and working out. He looks great and is excited for the opportunity.
Edmonds15: Thank you for not turning your back on Mark Grace. The D-backs seem to always do the right thing. Do you see Mark holding a more permanent position within the organization?
Derrick_Hall: Thanks for that. Gracie is an important member of the family and has contributed a lot. He will be an asset in uniform and will use his mistakes as an educational resource to share with our players.
tdog19: Will Cliff Pennington or Willie Bloomquist be the main shortstop?
Derrick_Hall: It will be a strong competition, which is good. We have created competition in so many areas, which is healthy. Just as the back-up catchers will be competing, as will the starters for the fifth spot.
tdog19: Who will be the main third baseman now that Chris Johnson is gone?
Derrick_Hall: Martin Prado will be our third baseman. He is very versatile though and can play second base or the outfield if need be.
vindeaz: Would you care to comment on Trevor Bauer's rap song, obviously taking a shot at Miggy?
Derrick_Hall: I do not want to comment on the rap song, but wish him well in Cleveland. We are focused on the players here in our camp.
red_leader: Liked the offseason moves, really looking forward to this year. How do you envision the closer role playing out, with Heath Bell, J.J. Putz and David Hernandez all capable of filling it?
Derrick_Hall: It is terrific that they can all close, and likely all will this season with needed days off for others, but the way it is set up today is for Heath to be the 7th inning guy, David the 8th and J.J. the 9th.
tdog19: Will Daniel Hudson be back by the All-Star Break?
Derrick_Hall: That seems to be the timeline. He is looking really good and seems to be ahead of schedule, but we certainly do not want to rush him, especially with the depth that we have.
TRedd24: Mr. Hall, big fan from CT here. How much did the new season-long Interleague system play into the offseason strategy this winter?
Derrick_Hall: Appreciate your support from there. I think it played a big part when it came to identifying bench players like Eric Chavez and Eric Hinske who also have the ability to DH.
vindeaz: Is the bullpen pretty much set barring injury, or is there competition for a spot or two?
Derrick_Hall: It is a strength for us for sure. It is not necessarily set, but we have several with the proven success like Tony Sipp, Matt Reynolds, Josh Collmenter, Brad Ziegler, Bell, Hernandez and Putz. There will be others competing though, and all pitchers have looked superb in their bullpen sessions so far.
odogfan1: What can you tell us about new food vendors at Chase Field? I heard Panda Express will no longer be there. Are there any heart-healthy options being considered?
Derrick_Hall: Panda Express will be back. We have gluten free and vegan items throughout the ballpark. Additionally, fans are free to go to the Insight Diamond Level now to purchase food there. We have a new restaurant concept going into the plaza building with a great menu as well.
TRedd24: Mr. Hall, even though it's only been a few days and the whole team isn't there yet, what's your take on the clubhouse chemistry right now with lots of new additions coming in?
Derrick_Hall: This is the best chemistry I have ever witnessed. This team enjoys being together and there is a sense of "us" and mission.
Nejhan: When will single game tickets go on sale? Flying in from Sweden for a game against the Dodgers in April, and looking for the best seat in the house. Thanks, Johan.
Derrick_Hall: They will go on sale on March 4. Appreciate you coming out for that game. Wear Sedona Red!
JoeLASDBacks: At Fan Fest two terms were used, Pros Pros and down and dirty baseball. Can they be both?
Derrick_Hall: The reference to dirty is that these guys will get their uniforms dirty and lay it on the line every game. I agree that they will conduct themselves like pros.
MichaelJay: Why do the D-backs force season ticket holders to buy two exhibition games before the season opener? We have plenty of opportunity to attend exhibition games during Spring Training. Perhaps consider significantly discounting these games.
Derrick_Hall: We have always done so to have those games benefit charities like our foundation.
JoeLASDBacks: Who will be the "TV Voice of the D-backs?"
Derrick_Hall: Steve Berthiaume of ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" is our play-by-play announcer and Bob Brenly is back as our color commentator.
Arn0ld: Do you have some depth at first base to give Goldy a break at the corner?
Derrick_Hall: Yes, as Hinske and Chavez can both play first base.
vindeaz: I seem to count one too many position players with a 12-man bullpen, so where is the competition?
Derrick_Hall: Shortstop and catcher.
goingonzo2: I'd like to thank you for everything you and your team do to give back to fans and for making the D-backs such a great team to root for. Can't wait for Opening Day and Happy Valentine's Day!
Derrick_Hall: Great one to end on. Thanks to all you, our fans, who do so much for us and our players. This will be a very fun spring. I cannot wait to see you all at Salt River Fields. Come on out this holiday weekend and watch the boys in some wonderful weather. Thanks again to you all for joining me. Go D-backs!