Hall chats about state of D-backs
Team president, CEO addresses online questions from fans
During his monthly Web chat with fans Thursday, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall addressed the team's play and said fans need to keep believing in the core group of young players. He also discussed what it will take to turn the season around.
Hall: Good afternoon. It's certainly a difficult stage for all of us after yet another tough loss today. But I thank all of you for joining.
rbtripp: Mr. Hall, thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to talk to the fans. Are the D-backs going to make any moves to strengthen the bullpen? I live in Tucson and try to attend the weekend games, but it's become more and more difficult to make the drive.
Hall: I could not agree more. Thanks for the support and patience. This has been a strange year indeed. Our expectations were all high, and we have had terrible results. We need to turn it around and give fans like yourself reason for hope with this core group again. You had asked if we will make moves to strengthen the bullpen -- the baseball staff will do all they can to strengthen all parts of our team without giving up that core and by receiving value in return.
nmdbacker: What is the latest on Conor Jackson?
Hall: This infection -- referred to as Valley Fever -- is tough to shake. It could still be months. It has certainly hurt not having our best pitcher and best hitter. Though, I would say Dan Haren has really been a co-ace, and even with the injuries, we have let too many games slip away like today.
nmdbacker: Reds 3, D-backs 2. I've followed the D-backs for several years now. This is by far the most disappointing season to this point. However, I won't give up on this team. Will we make any moves to get a competent veteran in the clubhouse?
Hall: Another frustrating game indeed. The baseball staff is uncovering every rock and trying to fill the missing pieces. If it is determined that a veteran is needed, I am sure they will find one. Again, whoever we move, there needs to be value sent back so that we can win now, and it would position us well for the future.
pt4240: Good afternoon. I know the the D-backs will be making some moves before the Trade Deadline, but my concern is that they will hold a fire sale. I would hate to see the organization give up on some of these young guns.
Hall: Great point, and that is certainly not our intention -- to hold a fire sale. We need to keep the core of young players together, like Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds and Haren, and build around them. Let's not stop believing in these kids. They are talented and are starting to come around individually. We need the team, and all of its parts, to click and contribute at the same time.
murdog1: Who does the front office consider to be the "core group?"
Hall: Players like Haren, Stephen Drew, Upton, Reynolds, etc. We have some pitching prospects in the Minors that we will not consider moving as well, and they should be up to help us as early as next season.
rbtripp: Why haven't we seen better results under A.J. Hinch?
Hall: A.J. is doing a lot that is not seen behind the scenes. We have some issues that need to be corrected and we are getting there. He has the players and coaches believing in him, and I think we will see better results.
cherw: What seems to be going on with the bullpen, and how can it be helped?
Hall: They have actually pitched well of late in tight spots. The biggest issue has been allowing the leadoff hitter to reach base, as we saw today. But Jon Rauch has come around brilliantly, Chad Qualls, Clay Zavada and Scott Schoeneweis have been effective. Tony Pena has struggled of late, but he is too good a pitcher to sustain a slump.
gworkman: I notice the broadcasts are a bit tamed down, but they still lack the professionalism of a Major League game. Please lose the bell/buzzer for the Aflac question and no more "KidCasters."
Hall: Those elements are sold to sponsors by Fox Sports Net. We actually have had several compliments about our broadcast team this season. It can be difficult calling games and communicating with fans when you are losing. They are fans just like all of us, and they try to find ways to remain positive and to feature the opposition when need be.
jaysbacks: Any of the prospects going to be able to help our bullpen?
Hall: Most of our prospects are starters and should probably stay in that role. We continue to fill gaps with guys at Double and Triple-A when we need them for the 'pen, but it is unlikely we will tap the top prospects until at least next season. What is nice to know is how good of a Draft we seem to have had. It was important for us to restock the pond, and having seven of the first 64 helped.
kyle3003: How did it feel when you got the title CEO?
Hall: It was nice, but would be much greater if we were winning. I feel bad for our hard-working employees and our fans. But seasons like these do happen, and I look forward to brighter days ahead. I have always enjoyed interacting with the fans in this role, especially during the tough times. We will get through this.
rbtripp: Can we expect Brandon Webb back in September? I know he is expected to be back but the two months off earlier didn't help him.
Hall: We sure hope so. What a different season this would have been with Webb and Haren back-to-back. We are glad he received more opinions, each of whom told him to rest it without surgery. Their advice and expertise suggests that he can return in September. We will keep our fingers crossed.
chasmo50: What is it going to take to get this season turned around?
Hall: We need all areas of our team to click at the same time. The starting pitching has been terrific. We need the offense to heat up again, the bullpen to hold leads, and for a little luck to get on our side. The law of averages says it will turnaround. But it is sure difficult getting to that point.
ridster: My dream is to become involved with a sports franchise and I am currently pursuing that goal at ASU. Do you have any suggestions as to how I may become involved with a franchise?
Hall: Do your research on those franchises you have interest in and try to set up some brief interviews to get your foot in the door. These should be more along the lines of career advice. When you have the opening, look into the possible internships and get your start. We have retained and promoted a number of employees who began as interns.
pingman1: As a season-ticket holder, when is enough enough? Do you have any plans on replacing the general manager and coach? Soon?
Hall: I completely understand your frustration and share in that frustration. This organization will turn it around quickly. We are extremely committed to it. I appreciate your support as a season-ticket holder, and I do not want to let you down. We have a history of providing winners here, and look forward to getting back to that level quickly.
Hall: Time has expired. I appreciate all of you taking the time to participate. This has been a disappointing season, but we look forward to all aspects improving. We also look forward to the All-Star Game and hope we are represented by Upton, Haren and Reynolds, who the national media seem to think are all deserving. Please keep believing in these D-backs, and keep in touch with us. Have a safe and healthy 4th of July weekend.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.