Over the coming days, we’ll be taking a look at some of the questions which the D-backs will be looking to address in spring training this year. Here’s a quick summary of the ones that came to mind, but we’re open to suggestions as to others worth of coverage. Otherwise, consider this a quick overview of articles to expect in the next week or so: you should probably hold off on significant discussion of these particular topics until then...
The 5th starter: Archie Bradley or Patrick Corbin
Corbin has the better career track record, but was very solid out of the bullpen in 2016, and as a recovering TJ arm, that may be the best long-term place for him. Bradley likely has the higher upside - but we’ve been waiting to see that, since he was anointed the #5 prospect in all baseball by MLB.com, before the 2014 season.
Figuring out the bullpen
There are probably only about three bullpen spots assured for Opening Day 2017 at this point: Fernando Rodney, Jake Barrett and Randall Delgado. Everyone else has a shot, ranging from 0 to almost certain, with a slew in particular of non-roster invitees around Salt River Fields this spring. And is Mike Hazen done, or will there be more relief options still to be signed for the Diamondbacks?
Setting a shortstop
If most of the everyday positions look to be fairly solid, shortstop could end up being the exception. Chris Owings got most of the starts there last year - when he wasn’t playing center! But it has already been suggested he could see time in the outfield. There’s also new man Ketel Marte to consider; what might he bring? And what about the latest addition, Daniel Descalso?
Chris Iannetta and Jeff Mathis have the inside track, but it’s going to be interesting to see how playing time gets divided. Iannetta has appeared in more games than Mathis, every one of the past six seasons. But curiously, it’s Mathis who will actually earn more this year. Will he become Zack Greinke’s personal catcher?
The fourth outfield man
Health willing, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Yasmany Tomas figure to see most time in the outfield this year. But the team has a host of other possibilities: as well as Owings, there’s Chris Herrmann, Gregor Blanco, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Socrates Brito, to name but a few. Who’ll make it onto the Opening Day roster?
Meet the manager
Torey Lovullo takes over as the man in charge of the dugout for Arizona this season. He has plenty of managerial experience, but almost all of it was a) in the minor leagues, and b) in 2010 or earlier. What will his approach be? Fixed or fluid line-up? Who’ll be platooned? Is he going to turn our runners loose? It’ll be a learning process as the relationship between Lovullo, his players and the coaches develops.
To decide the order of the above, here’s a poll, asking you to rate the above questions in importance - along with a blank field in case you have any other suggestions for topics.