Hall chats Opening Day with fans
D-backs president discusses the upcoming season
During his monthly Web chat with fans, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall talked about how the team is looking heading into Opening Day and which players impressed him the most at camp as Spring Training draws to a close.
Hall: Welcome everyone. This is an exciting time, with our annual Evening on the Diamond tonight, the Cubs tomorrow and Saturday and Opening Day on Monday -- roof open!
Tina12: Hello Mr. Hall and thank you again for conducting another chat with the fans. I have a couple questions. I plan to attend Opening Day. How is the ticket availability? Should I buy online or take my chances as a walk up? I plan to sit in outfield reserve.
Hall: Thanks Tina. Hope to see you Monday. We are not yet sold out but getting close. I would recommend buying online now, with the strong possibility of it being soldout with nothing available for walk up. Get here early for the festivities.
hellyersay: I've had Brandon Webb on my fantasy team for years. Should I keep him this year?
Hall: We certainly hope he is on the mound soon. Knowing what a competitor he is, he wants to get back out there and contribute. We certainly do not want to rush him when he knows his body and does not feel ready. Our rotation is much better with him in it, naturally.
Buffet1: The Webb situation aside, our starting rotation is likely to require a strong middle/long relief effort, because Ian Kennedy and Rodrigo Lopez aren't proven innings eaters. How comfortable are you with our middle/long relievers?
Hall: Kennedy and Lopez have both looked great this spring, so let's hope that continues and that they do eat some innings for us. With that being said, our bullpen is much improved with depth. The addition of Aaron Heilman brings us strong relief, as does Leo Rosales in a long role. Juan Gutierrez, who has been outstanding this spring, in addition to Bob Howry, Esmerling Vasquez, Blaine Boyer and Chad Qualls, should provide great relief.
Tina12: Are the F-16's from Luke AFB performing a fly over during the National Anthem?
Hall: Yes they are. We have four flying over just after Joe Nichol's National Anthem and just before Kurt Warner's first pitch.
tkwebsinc: Are there any trades on the immediate horizon? Maybe a left-handed starter?
Hall: We are always looking. General manager Josh Byrnes and his staff are speaking with every team nearly daily. We will be watching the waiver wires as well. Most teams are rather set at this time, but there is the chance of some activity when rosters are being finalized. If there is a trade to be made that will improve our chances without costing too much when it comes to the talent we are sending, we would be all over it.
Tina12: Is Joe Borowski taking the place of Gracie as the pregame analyst? I caught his piece on the 10th inning and am looking forward to his contribution.
Hall: It will be Todd Walsh and Borowski for most of the pregames this year. We will see Mark Grace and Daron Sutton do most of the postgame shows from the booth while we are on the road.
blue_jays: How much time to you expect Conor Jackson to see at first base?
Hall: I think it will be limited now that we have Adam LaRoche. There may be games when we are facing a left-handed starter that we put Conor over there, but he will spend most of his time in the outfield. It does give us the option for some late inning double switches or position changes too, though, which creates more flexibility.
Buffet1: Realistically, can we expect to see a better and more consistent defensive effort this year and, if so, why?
Hall: We had better! That has been our coaching staff's focus all spring. We cannot afford to make defensive or baserunning mistakes this season. We obviously had trouble in those areas last season, and we are doing all we can to make sure we do not beat ourselves that way.
blue_jays: Do you see Chris Snyder winning the starting catching job at some point in the season?
Hall: It is certainly a luxury to have two solid catchers. Chris is a tremendous defensive catcher and takes his job serious. He works tirelessly on his offense and all-around skills. Miguel Montero is a terrific offensive player who is rapidly improving defensively. It is a great problem to have two catchers both capable of starting all season.
azsun250: I've read there may be a pitching problem already. What are we doing to break this cycle?
Hall: I would not say we have a pitching problem. We bolstered our rotation with the additions of Kennedy and Edwin Jackson to go along with Dan Haren. The question mark has been Webby's health and when we can expect his return. That is soon, we hope.
SundevilStick: Why was Tony Clark not pursued to be some kind of coach in the D-backs organization?
Hall: We had several conversations with Tony and almost came to an agreement. He has other aspirations and has accepted a non-team job. He is a wonderful guy and good friend of the organization.
Buffet1: From an individual performance perspective, who has been the most significant and unexpected performer in Spring Training?
Hall: Probably from relievers Gutierrez and Jordan Norberto. Norberto is a young left-hander who throws in the mid-90s.
wailord: What was the reasoning behind the "Uptown" campaign you have going this year?
Hall: Fans have been asking for player-branded areas. This is our first step. There is an actual "Uptown" section this season behind him in right field. We are excited about it and he is as well.
Hall: We have run out of time. Thanks for being with me today. Take the afternoon off on Monday and come on out to Opening Day. Those of you sitting on the first base side, bring a hat and sunscreen. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.