Hall joins D-backs fans for a Web chat
President/CEO answers questions on Webb, offseason plans
D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall fielded questions from fans during his September Web chat. Hall said that he did not consider this season a rebuilding year, considering the core group of talented players on the roster. He also discussed the 2010 schedule, Luis Gonzalez joining the front office and much more.
Derrick Hall: Good afternoon. Great to be with you here today for the chat. Let's get started. We have a half hour for your questions.
timdoge: Are you going to bring back Brandon Webb?
Hall: We will make that decision shortly after the season ends. In fact, the decision must be made within five days after the World Series. We are obviously a much better rotation with a healthy Webb as a part of it. He has meant a great deal to this organization, and I personally hope we are in a position to see that relationship continue, but we will have to wait for further updates and reports on his progress.
szlongball: Why are clubs no longer interested in Greg Maddux-type pitchers?
Hall: It is hard to believe clubs would not be interested in a pitcher with Maddux-type of ability. He is a Hall of Famer who ate innings and knew how to throw strikes everywhere and anywhere in the zone. He was a professional who knew how to get batters out. I will always take one just like him!
otaku007: Is every year a rebuilding year?
Hall: I would not categorize this as a rebuilding year. When it was clear that we were out of a race, we moved a few players who we did not plan on bringing back after this year in order to receive value for a go-forward strategy. It is not a rebuild when you have a core of Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew, Brandon Allen, Miguel Montero, Chris Snyder, Chris Young, Gerardo Parra, Dan Haren, Conor Jackson, Max Scherzer, Ryan Roberts, Juan Gutierrez, Esmerling Vasquez, Dan Schlereth and Chad Qualls in place, to name a few. We will bring in a few key pieces to fill holes and add to the talent.
otaku007: What decisions are being made about the bullpen?
Hall: We will certainly address the pitching staff in the offseason. Other than our recent poor stretch, the bullpen has progressed well since July. The young arms are learning how to pitch at this level, despite not having had seasons last this long or innings add up this much in the past. Gutierrez' performance Wednesday night against the Dodgers is a strong indication of what we have to look forward to and how effective these guys can be. We have to be careful not to overwork them.
bobjeri: Why do managers take out a good pitcher who is winning and put in a relief pitcher who loses the game?
Hall: I can understand the question based on a few of the recent results. The manager and his staff make these decisions based on number of pitches, signs of fatigue, score, number of baserunners and situations, batting orders late in games and matchups with upcoming opponents, just as a few examples. It is a tough situation, because if the starting pitcher gives up the lead late in a game, or after a solid seven or eight innings, we all have a tendency to say, "The manager blew it and should have known the starter was done. Why not use the 'pen there?"
cleak: Will the Fall League be active this year? Any hot prospects to watch for?
Hall: The Fall League is always great for us and our fans. In fact, we give our season-ticket holders season passes to attend the games. We will likely have Brandon Allen, Bryan Augenstein, Pedro Ciriaco, Cole Gillespie, Tom Layne, Scott Maine and Cesar Valdez. We hope you can get out to watch some of the games.
DBACKS33: Who is going to be cut from the rotation in order to bring Webb back, if he comes back?
Hall: He would go back to the front end of the rotation with Haren if he returns. We have been filling in the four and five spots for much of the season with different candidates, so it is not exactly taking one individual's spot in particular.
dhallfan: Are you planning on adding any new seating or suite areas next season, like the All-You-Can-Eat area this year?
Hall: Our All-You-Can-Eat section has been such a hit that we are considering another. There are some areas within the ballpark that will receive subtle makeovers to continue improving the beauty here.
snelzie: What are the chances of Parra being named NL Rookie of the Year?
Hall: Obviously I hope he receives strong consideration. He has been a solid addition to our team this season and has been effective at the plate. He is at or near the top in so many offensive categories -- he would get my vote. He is third in average, first in RBIs, third in total bases, fifth in doubles, second in triples, second in mulit-hit games and second in outfield assists -- solid statistics.
d_wade: I would like to say you are doing a great job. I wanted to note the recognition you give to your employees at games is excellent!
Hall: Thank you for the compliment. Our staff deserves the recognition. They are terrific and truly care about all of you.
DBACKS33: Even though he is a key part of the team, do you plan on dealing Reynolds during the offseason?
Hall: Mark is a key part of our core. He continues to improve defensively and will get more and more patient at the plate. He is a big reason why we can finally say we have a legitimate 3-4-5 in the lineup.
TruDbackFanInIndiana: I love this team so much but I am worried with A.J. Hinch managing. Does he have the players' respect? Haren wouldn't even look at him last night.
Hall: He definitely has their respect and they are playing for him. Dan is a competitor and never wants to give the ball up. He would be the first to tell you after the results in the eighth that A.J. made the right decision -- and it was a tough one to make. Dan and A.J. are close actually, and spend a great deal of time picking each other's brain.
DJ22: When will we see the D-backs schedule for 2010?
Hall: It will be released within the next week and is a real good one. This year's was a challenge, but next year's is well-balanced and will feature some exciting AL East matchups!
DBACKS33: Will Qualls be available in the beginning of next season?
Hall: He should be fine. He is progressing well at this point. That was so unfortunate and could not have come at a worse time. Again, this has been a strange season full of injuries and mishaps. Let's get them all out of the way now!
cleak: For the new Spring Training site in the Phoenix area, are there any shade overhangs in the design of the park?
Hall: We are challenging the architects and contractors to provide the most shade of any other complex, as well as access roads in and out.
d_wade: How do you plan to integrate Luis Gonzalez into your management team and into the public?
Hall: He has been incredible thus far. He comes in every morning before 8:30 and cannot wait to learn. He has been working behind the scenes, learning a bit of the business side, and has spent a bit of time with Josh Byrnes on the baseball philosophy. There is so much he will do, but his head is still spinning due to the newness.
hellosd: What are the biggest challenges that you face in running a Major League Baseball club? Having been with the Dodgers, do you find that the challenges are different in Arizona?
Hall: Our biggest challenges are with attendance. This season has been difficult due to the economy and the performance on the field. We will continue to challenge ourselves to offer affordability, while improving the play on the field. Our fans expect a winner, as do we. The attendance was great in 2007, when the team was performing at a high level. We will get back to that.
Hall: I wish I could answer all of your questions, but we are out of time. I apologize if I did not get to yours. Thanks again to all of you for joining me. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.