Inbox: Tackling potential roster permutations
Beat reporter Steve Gilbert answers Arizona fans' questions
With the struggles of the starting pitchers and the fact that Daniel Hudson is not going to be back and Brandon McCarthy is hurt, will we see Archie Bradley get called up?
-- Paul B., Phoenix
From what I've heard, the plan is still to give Bradley this full season to develop in the Minor Leagues, so I would be very surprised if he were to get called up. Of course, plans change, so you never want to rule it out entirely. If the D-backs continue to lose pitchers to injury and are in a pennant race and Bradley is their best option, then maybe they could call him up. But again, that seems unlikely at this point.
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If you're looking for some Minor League pitchers who could make an impact this year, Tyler Skaggs, Zeke Spruill and David Holmberg are names to keep in mind.
As the midway point of the season approaches, are you hearing of any trade rumors involving the D-backs? Do you think the D-backs could swing a trade for a top-of-the-rotation starter like a Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee?
-- Rick D., Houston
It's still a little early for Trade Deadline talks to be heating up. With the additional Wild Card team, fewer teams figure to be "sellers," and when you combine that with the lack of pitching that is typically available, it makes for a really tough market.
The D-backs have shown a willingness in the past to spend money if need be at the Trade Deadline, and last year they were said to be in on some pretty big names. It's safe to say that general manager Kevin Towers is not afraid to deal and will explore all options. The cost for a pitcher like Lee, though, is probably going to be more than the D-backs want to spend -- both in terms of prospects and the money remaining on his hefty contract.
Two years ago, with his team in the thick of the race, Towers added Brad Ziegler before the Deadline and then went out and acquired Aaron Hill and John McDonald in August. Those are more the type of moves I think you would see him make this year, rather than a Lee-type acquisition.
With Eric Chavez and Hill's return imminent, who will be the odd men out in the infield? I assume Josh Wilson is one, but who's next? Do they also send Didi Gregorius down because of Cliff Pennington's contract/option situation?
-- John O., Gainsville, Fla.
These questions are always difficult to answer, John, because so much can happen between now and then. It was just a few weeks ago that Hudson seemed on the verge of returning from Tommy John surgery and the question was who would have to be bumped from the rotation. Then McCarthy gets hurt and Hudson suffers a setback in the span of a week.
It would certainly make for a tough decision if Chavez and Hill both return in the next week or 10 days. Keep in mind, with Willie Bloomquist and Martin Prado able to play the outfield, the D-backs could decide to hang onto their infielders and send down or trade one of their outfielders.
With Gregorious starting to struggle at the plate, what are the chances of bringing up Chris Owings?
-- Tylor M., Kingman, Ariz.
I don't see the D-backs giving up on Gregorius at the moment, and even if they wanted to demote him, they would still have shortstop options in Pennington and Bloomquist.
That being said, Owings is really having a good season for Triple-A Reno. Going into Thursday's game, he was hitting .357 with a .377 on-base percentage and slugging .481 while still playing outstanding defense.
Upon the return of Adam Eaton, how do you see the outfield playing out with A.J. Pollock, Jason Kubel and Cody Ross? Pollock has been effective on defense and a spark in the lineup with speed. Kubel has power history, but not going well yet. Ross is solid. Not room for everyone.
-- Larry P., Creston, Iowa
Eaton still has a ways to go before he's ready to return. He's just started throwing again and will need to go out on a rehab assignment, as well, so this decision is not one that is going to be made for a while.
Assuming that Eaton does return and no one else gets hurt before he does, Pollock has Minor League options, so they could send him down. They could also look into trading Kubel. While sending Pollock down might not be "fair" given how he's played, it would preserve depth in the outfield should Eaton or one of the others get hurt.
Again, it's a question we can revisit when Eaton's return gets closer.
What is the latest on Mark Grace? Is he still incarcerated and/or working with D-backs players?
-- Mike, Portland, Ore.
Grace has been released from prison and is still employed as a coach working with the organization's players that are currently in extended spring camp at Salt River Fields.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.