D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall fielded questions from fans during his August web chat. Hall credits the team's chemistry, heart and gritty play for its success so far this season.
Derrick Hall: Welcome everyone to today's chat. It sure is nice playing games in August that mean something!
vindeaz: "Division Leading Arizona Diamondbacks"... has a nice ring to it, huh? Shades of "Anybody, Anytime" from another era! Who among position players do you feel is the most pleasant surprise in your eyes, and the same question regarding pitchers? Congrats!
Derrick Hall: Nice ring indeed! So many pleasant surprises. The results from Willie Bloomquist and Ryan Roberts have been incredible, but the seasons for Justin Upton and Miguel Montero cannot be overlooked. I believe Justin should be considered among the top four or five MVP candidates. As for pitchers, I am so proud of the job Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson have done as starters. They receive a lot of attention and should. But we would not be where we are at without Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter as well. From the pen, David Hernandez, J.J. Putz and Joe Paterson have been so consistent all season long.
winnlwest: Good pick up today in Tommy Manzella, saw him play several times when he was with Round Rock. How soon do you think we'll see him in the D-backs dugout or on the field?
Derrick Hall: He will help by providing much needed depth at the shortstop position. He will go to Reno for now, but should be a good candidate for a call-up spot, and will be there for us if needed, with a strong glove.
dreb55: Given the team's success this season, would you consider giving Kevin Towers a longer contract?
Derrick Hall: We are obviously thrilled with the job he has done, and I was confident he would perform. He has always been a winner. We have him under contract with the ability of multiple years with some options. I plan on keeping Kevin around for a long time.
dreb55: Love the Kids Are Free into the ballpark promo -- well done!
Derrick Hall: Thanks, I love the promo as well. It definitely moved the needle a bit with attendance, but also provided tickets for many families who ordinarily cannot afford to attend. We will look at doing similar promotions in the future.
dreb55: Are there any "protected" -- absolutely would not trade -- players on the roster?
Derrick Hall: It is difficult to label players as untouchable, but there is a list of prospects that we would not want to part with. Names like Tyler Skaggs, Wade Miley, Jarrod Parker, Trevor Bauer and David Holmberg. We have really stocked the pond with pitching talent, and they are knocking on the door.
rox08: How do you think Paul Goldschmidt is doing so far?
Derrick Hall: He has shown no signs of stress or concern. I think he has looked comfortable and his defense has been stellar. He will hit for sure. He has tremendous power and talent, and is a great kid.
dreb55: Who gave you your first big break in the Major Leagues?
Derrick Hall: The Los Angeles Dodgers did. I began as an intern years ago, worked my way through the Minor Leagues, where I cut my teeth and really learned about fan treatment, then up through the Major League front office and ultimately Senior Vice President. Peter O'Malley was the owner and my first mentor.
ryantorn: How do you feel knowing you have two closers in the bullpen compared to teams that usually depend on one guy for the most part?
Derrick Hall: We can compare this season to the last two, and they are like night and day. Hernandez and Putz have been invaluable. Last night's game was a perfect example. J.J. needed a rest after the night before, so David stepped in and was again perfect.
dreb55: Although you're disappointed about the low attendance, there are those of us who are at the games all the time!
Derrick Hall: I know that and love that! Thanks to all of our great fans who show up on a daily basis. The crowds are increasing, and I know the fans will show up. We did not give fans a reason to show up the last two seasons, so I understand the slow return, and really cannot blame them. Our fans are terrific, and I know the crowd size will come as long as we stay in this race with relevance.
mike85055: We seem to be missing the piece of the puzzle that will put us in the postseason. What do you think that piece is and are you willing to pay for it?
Derrick Hall: The chemistry on this team has been working well all year. This team has something most do not -- heart! They are grinders and show grit every game. Sometimes that can go a lot farther than paying for others. We did make two trades at the deadline that we believe will help us and continue to look each day at other pieces, but we need to be careful not to mess with the core and chemistry that has been producing all season long.
chris1798: If Trevor Bauer continues his success from Single A Visalia into Mobile in Double-A, would Arizona consider bringing him up and skip AAA in September?
Derrick Hall: He is fun to watch. This kid is special and will be up here soon. If we believe he has progressed enough and could handle the Major Leagues, we will not be hesitant to make that move. He is definitely on a fast track, and when our fans see him pitch, they will understand why.
powercat83: I'm sure you have thought a lot about it, but how are you going to get the rest of Arizona to come out to games? I know it's the Astros but we should be getting 25,000-plus for these mid-week games for the first-place D-backs.
Derrick Hall: I definitely agree with you, and believe they will come. We just need to keep winning. Our attendance is slightly up due to the results, and our ratings are through the roof. People are watching and talking about us, which should translate into ticket sales as long as we remain on this path.
dbackr1_2: If Bloomquist heats up and gets on a roll, when Drew comes back, what are you going to do?
Derrick Hall: Willie has done a terrific job as Stephen's fill-in. He is a terrific utility player with position versatility. Stephen will not be back this season. So next spring, that will be a nice problem to have.
uscjedi: As part of the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 2001 World Championship, why are the Ring Raffle tickets only available online to Arizona residents only? The Diamondbacks also have fans in other states.
Derrick Hall: Under Arizona state law, the purchaser must be in Arizona when buying the ticket. Anyone from out of state can purchase one, but must be within Arizona when purchasing.
dreb55: Will you be doing any promotions or special recognition to our Military members, especially the Seals?
Derrick Hall: Military personnel receive a 50% discount to every home Sunday game. We will do a wonderful tribute to all uniformed personnel on 9-11.
dbackgter: Micah Owings has really come on as well.
Derrick Hall: Could not agree more. Micah has been terrific coming out of the pen and keeping us in games. He is aggressive and goes right after the hitters. We love that kid, as do all of our fans.
jemini63: Players like Roberts and Bloomquist are exactly what the D-backs need to win another championship. Heart, desire ... EMOTION, you can see it on their faces and body language. Let's get more of that and less tentative players who get down on themselves.
Derrick Hall: They define our team and Kirk Gibson's approach. They put their heart on the field every game and play hard for our fans. This is a fun and exciting product to watch.
DBacksUP10: Have the D-backs started negotiations with first-round pick Archie Bradley yet?
Derrick Hall: Absolutely. We are working diligently on those negotiations with his agents. I am optimistic. The deadline is the 15th of this month to have he and all others signed by.
coltong: Just wanted to say you guys are doing such a great job and were so proud of this team.
Derrick Hall: We thank you for that. There is still a great deal of work left to do, but I am pleased with the quick turnaround. And with the depth of talent we have in the minors ready to join us, our future looks very bright.
Derrick Hall: I want to thank everyone for this great chat. There were so many questions that we did not have time to get to. I apologize to those who I didn't get to. Come on out and support this team -- it's a fun one. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.