Stewart keeping open mind toward acquisition

Stewart keeping open mind toward acquisition

PHOENIX -- D-backs general manager Dave Stewart took his quest for starting pitching to Boca Raton, Fla. on Monday, where this week's General Managers Meetings are being held.

"Met with some teams and talked over some ideas," Stewart said of his day. "Talked on the phone with a couple of agents."

In a little more than one year under Stewart's direction, the D-backs have worked to replenish their farm system, and with position player depth at the big league level, they have chips to trade.

And after shedding contracts since July 2014, the D-backs also have money to spend this offseason. MLBTradeRumors.com estimates the team's obligations as close to $60 million, and chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said the payroll limit is around $100 million.

So with possibilities in both avenues of player acquisition, which route will the D-backs take?

"I think we're going to have to keep an open mind to both, and it may happen from both," Stewart said. "We may be able to get one through free agency, and we may be able to get another through a trade."

One complication in pursuing some of the premier pitchers on the free-agent market is the length of the contract they would seek. In recent years, pitchers have gotten six- or seven-year deals, and Stewart seems reticent to give out longer-term contracts to pitchers.

"I do not have any interest in a deal that would go that long," Stewart said when asked about six- and seven-year deals. "I think [short-term] is more where we want to be. Right now we are pretty contract-friendly going into the future; we don't have a lot extended out there. So getting ourselves extended deep into our future is not something I would have very much interest in doing."

The D-backs do, however, sound open to signing a pitcher who has Draft-pick compensation attached to him.

Arizona has the 13th pick in next year's MLB Draft.

"If it's going to have an immediate impact on us as an organization and get us closer to the goal that we're trying to accomplish, which is to get into the postseason, we have to look at it," Stewart said.

Going the trade route has its own drawbacks, with the team not looking to give up too much. The D-backs remember trading young talent following playoff appearances in 2007 and 2011 in the hopes of taking another step forward.

Instead the deals robbed them of their depth, and they were unable to advance into the postseason the following year.

"We don't want to, in one offseason, reverse ground that we've gained," Stewart said of building depth. "If it makes sense and we can still hold on to the things that are important, which is our depth and the prospects and the core group of guys at the Major League level, then we'll be able to talk about that."

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.