Inbox: What's the latest with Webb?

Inbox: What's the latest with Webb?

What's the latest with Brandon Webb? I've heard the D-backs are going to pick up his option, but I have not seen it happen yet. Has there been a change of heart? Doesn't the club need to do it soon?
-- Carl B., Phoenix

The D-backs have until five days after the conclusion of the World Series to pick up the $8.5 million option. If they don't pick it up, they would owe Webb a $2 million buyout. The D-backs told Webb last week that they almost certainly will pick up the option, but that they will wait to finalize that until just before the deadline. There really is no incentive for them to do it before the deadline, and that's a stance Webb said he understands.

The D-backs had agreed to an extension with Webb last year before there were doubts about his health. What are the chances now that he is healthy of a deal like that being reached? We need to keep Webby in Arizona!
-- Brett D., Tempe, Ariz.

There are a couple of points to clarify. The D-backs and Webb reached an agreement on a contract extension early during the 2008 season -- not last year. As for the future, I would be surprised if something got worked out in that regard. The D-backs probably would have liked to have worked something out in which rather than just picking up his option for 2010, they would have spread their risk over two years or possibly guaranteed him a lower base salary for 2010 with roster bonuses that would have given him the opportunity to earn more than $8.5 million had he stayed healthy.

Based on my conversations with Webb, though, he was not in favor of doing that and will wait until midseason at the earliest to revisit talks about 2011.

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The chances of the D-backs deciding to give him what he would want -- a long-term extension -- seem unlikely given the fact they were hesitant to do it because of health concerns in 2008 and he ended up missing most of '09 with an injury. I'm not saying it's not possible, but I think it is highly unlikely.

We haven't heard much about Conor Jackson these days. Is he going to be back next year and will he be healthy?
-- Erin B., Los Angeles

I recently spoke with Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes, and he said Jackson did very well in instructional league and now is playing in the Dominican Winter League. That is good news for both Jackson and the D-backs.

By the end of the season, Jackson was pretty frustrated with not being able to play as a result of the Valley Fever virus, but the positive experience in instructional league seemed to really rejuvenate him.

There as some doubt as to whether the D-backs would offer him arbitration this offseason, but if he continues to be able to play through his scheduled time in the Dominican, I think the D-backs certainly will do so. His offensive contribution was sorely missed this past year.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.