Derrick Hall's chat transcript
Team president talks about the lineup, bullpen and broadcast schedule
D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall chatted with fans about Opening Day during his monthly online chat on Thursday. Hall fielded questions about the starting lineup, bullpen, light rail, broadcast schedule and more.
Hall: Good afternoon everyone. I am excited about today's chat, but more excited for Opening Day. Let's get started.
murdog1: It seems like the bullpen has been slapped around a bit this spring. Are there any regrets on letting Juan Cruz go? Would you say the bullpen's performance is the biggest worry going into the regular season?
Hall: The bullpen seems to be a question mark to some experts or critics. The 'pen can actually be a strength for us should these guys feel comfortable in their roles and stay healthy. We have great arms in [Chad] Qualls, [Tony] Pena, [Jon] Rauch, [Yusmeiro] Petit, [Juan] Gutierrez, [Scott] Schoeneweis, and [Doug] Slaten. We also have [Tom] Gordon getting close to joining us, and have young arms like [Billy] Buckner who will help us eat some innings.
jkziel: With the loss of Randy Johnson, Orlando Hudson, Brandon Lyon, and Adam Dunn, who do you think is going to provide the most power for the D-backs in 2009?
Hall: We have several guys who could all hit 20 or more home runs in [Stephen] Drew, [Mark] Reynolds, [conor] Jackson, [Chad] Tracy, [Chris] Snyder, [Chris] Young, [Justin] Upton and [Eric] Byrnes, depending on how the outfield shakes out. We have a nice balance of power. True, we lost a few players from last year's roster, but we were also able to add [Felipe] Lopez, [Jon] Garland, Schoeneweis, and Gordon, while bringing back [Tony] Clark and [Augie] Ojeda. We have a great bench with Tony, Augie, [Miguel] Montero and one of the remaining outfielders. We will also make a decision on the remaining players in camp to likely fill a spot.
lloydc1: Will any new Spring Training facilities be as fan-friendly as Tucson was? Having all the backstops in a pod setup was great for viewing the four fields and must be good for player movement between fields during camp.
Hall: We are still in Tucson and have not made a decision on future locations. But if we determine that we need to leave, I can assure you it will be fan-friendly. We have been labeled recently as the most fan-friendly team in sports due to our approach. We will always encourage our players and staff to interact with fans, sign autographs and take pictures. Spring Training is a great setting for all of that, and we would want to provide access for our fans.
evanbaseballboy: In terms of competing, which teams do you think we'll be competing against, either in the Wild Card or the division?
Hall: That is a great question. I certainly hope we are competing for a spot and believe we will. We have spent more time in first place over the last two seasons than any team in baseball. But our entire division is improved. As the experts point out, it should be a race between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, but you cannot rule out the great pitching of the Giants and the talent of the Rockies, who were in the World Series just a season back. It will be competitive and exciting.
fannatick2: If Mark Reynolds continues to struggle defensively and with his strike outs, would Chad Tracy relieve him at third base and have Josh Whitesell play first base?
Hall: Mark has worked so hard this offseason in both of those areas. He has had a good spring and has been working closely with Matt Williams, in addition to Rick Schu. It is indeed a luxury to have a versatile player like Chad Tracy who can play first or third, but it is also nice to have a guy in the lineup who showed great defense in 2007 and always has a chance to hit 30 [home runs] and drive in 100.
phil2002: I am a season-ticket holder and was wondering if there is some kind of discount for season-ticket holders to ride the Light Rail in the works?
Hall: Light Rail will be great for our fans. We have been speaking to them about savings for all fans. We are hoping to be able to announce a plan where we purchase tickets or pass through discounts for you. Naturally, we want to encourage fans to use the system for convenience and safety.
donaldv: Thank you for the vast improvement in games available in HD this season. I appreciate the investment from the D-backs for us fans that cannot make it to the ballpark all the time.
Hall: We have been pushing for more games and FSN definitely responded. They are a tremendous partner, and have agreed to televise 145 games in HD. That is spectacular -- well, to watch when the team is on the road! You can have the best, true High Def right here at Chase Field.
pjskitch: Opening Day is a very special day with great weather expected. I really hope you open the roof for the game. In past Opening Day games in the afternoon, the roof was closed once the game started even though the weather was gorgeous.
Hall: I understand your point and agree with you, but again, we will likely have it closed. The sun and temps can be extreme on the first-base side, and we will push it and leave it open on days when we have room to move those fans who need to be relocated. But with a full house that is expected, we will not be able to move anyone. We plan on opening the roof for the pregame ceremonies and then will likely close for the game. We plan on having it open for Saturday's exhibition day game and Wednesday's day game, weather permitting.
ryanharris: Mr. Hall, what is the D-backs' primary strategic management approach and how would you describe the organization's structure? Thanks for your time.
Hall: Difficult to answer in a short time span, but a great question. Our five main areas of focus within our Circle of Success are: financial efficiency, culture in the workplace, performance on the field, community impact, and fan experience. Fan experience is where we have been extremely strategic to make a difference. We treat our fans, employees and players better than any team in sports. We "Find a Way to Say Yes" each and every game.
Hall: I am sorry I could not get to all of your questions in the time frame allotted. I look forward to seeing all of you this season. Don't forget the games tomorrow and Saturday against the White Sox, and hurry and get your Opening Day tickets while there are still some great seats left. Go D-backs.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.