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07/14/06 6:08 PM ET

Moorad, D-Backs have eye on the prize

General partner chats about Arizona's run at division title

Diamondbacks general partner Jeff Moorad fielded fans' questions during an online chat Friday. Moorad believes Arizona can win its division and discussed the D-Backs' pitching needs as the trade deadline nears.

Jeff Moorad: Hi there, thanks for joining me today. I look forward to answering your questions.

Timothy_Reddington_2: How has the transition been from agent to a major partner of the ownership?

Moorad: Interesting to say the least. I've had a very interesting two years -- my 20+ years experience in the sports industry continues to be helpful, but I continue to come across new challenges and learn each day. I'm indebted to Commissioner (Bud) Selig who worked with Ken Kendrick and me to create a role for me to transition into.

Timothy_Reddington: How is the relationship between Luis Gonzalez and the front office right now and could we be seeing Luis' final days in the desert?

Moorad: Luis has been the face of our franchise for many years now. We are realists and realize that all good things eventually come to an end, but I assure you, Luis will always be welcome in this organization. I've made that clear to him and hope that he will be involved with us well beyond his playing days.

Timothy_Reddington: What can Diamondbacks fans expect for the trade deadline?

Moorad: General manager Josh Byrnes and his staff are working around the clock listening and proactively analyzing possible deals. Like everyone, we are interested in starting pitching. If any moves are made -- we are likely to be involved at least in the discussions -- we obviously are very protective of our young prospects whom many believe may be as fine as any in the game. As a result, we will be careful about any moves and analyze carefully how they affect the short-term as well as the future.

moxxy1: When do you think Mark Grace might be manager material for our team, if ever? He seems to have quite a bit of knowledge about the game.

Moorad: Mark is one of my favorites. I think he does a terrific job on our broadcasts and I believe that between the two of them, Thom Brennaman and Mark may be as good as any in the game at what they do. I don't know what Mark's current thinking is on returning to the field, but if he was interested, we would likely want him to consider managing a Minor League team for us. It's really up to Mark and our baseball operations staff.

Timothy_Reddington_2: At the trade deadline (please get starting pitching by the way), do you consider the D-Backs sellers or buyers?

Moorad: We believe we can win the division so, obviously, if we can find deals that allow us to improve and win this year, we'll prioritize them. On the other hand, to the extent other clubs are interested in our players, we are willing to listen. It's probably too difficult to characterize as one or the other.

rgndvo: The Diamondbacks have swung and missed several times in their history trying to "buy low" with starting pitching. With this ballpark, how concerned is the front office that anything less than a top-talent pitcher is a waste of prospects, money, etc.?

Moorad: Curt Schilling, Matt Mantei, Javier Vazquez, Todd Stottlemyre in free agency -- we've acquired some good ones over the years. To be sure, nothing is better than developing our own pitching talent. At the same time, if you put your head in the sand and are afraid to deal, you might miss some significant opportunities. To summarize, we aspire to acquire top talent whether through the draft or free agency or through trades. Thanks for the question.

youvebeencounselled: What has been the biggest surprise or obstacle making the jump from agent to owner?

Moorad: Once everyone got over the shock (including myself), the biggest surprise for me is the camaraderie that exists on the owner side of the table. Although we are all competitors, I feel a real sense of caring about each other's team. It's rare to talk with another owner that doesn't know exactly how our team is doing in our division regardless of where his team plays.

Base_Ball_4: What are your thoughts on Jose Valverde's struggles and will he ever be the closer for Arizona again?

Moorad: We are optimistic that Jose can regain his form. He has been dramatically successful at times and we hope that some innings at Triple-A can bring back his confidence and form.

dre17: How good does it feel to know the D-Backs have the No. 1 farm system in baseball and that so many young guys are Major League ready and can make an immediate impact as soon as they're called up?

Moorad: It feels great. Mike Rizzo and the player development staff have done a great job over the years acquiring and developing great young talent. It's truly one of the reasons that I felt so good about becoming part of the D-Backs ownership group.

rereit: What did you think of Brandon Webb's performance in the All-Star Game this year?

Moorad: Tough to be any more effective!

rereit: Are you enjoying your new role representing a team rather than individual players?

Moorad: I miss some of the personal relationships, but as I've grown older, I probably became more ripe for this experience.

Base_Ball_4: If and, unfortunately, when Gonzalez leaves the D-Backs, who do you feel could be the new face of the organization?

Moorad: I don't know if anyone will ever replace Gonzo, but we believe some of our young players like Chad Tracy, Brandon Webb, Orlando Hudson, Conor Jackson and the like can represent our organization well.

Base_Ball: Why don't the D-Backs ever have any talent in the pitching staff? Besides Webb, we really don't have anything, even the closers. Why is this?

Moorad: The single greatest need in baseball ... pitching, pitching, pitching!

moxxy1: Once Luis Gonzalez retires, can we look forward to possibly seeing him as a coach?

Moorad: At this point, I know Gonzo is planning to play for some time. Whenever he's done, he'll always have a home here.

futuretheoepstein9: What do you think about the job Byrnes and assistant GM Peter Woodfork have done?

Moorad: Josh and Peter, along with Bob Gebhard, A.J. Hinch, Jerry DiPoto, Mike Rizzo, and the like make up something like a "Dream Team" baseball operations staff -- I wouldn't trade a one of them. They've worked very effectively under Josh's leadership.

Moorad: Thanks for joining me today and supporting the Diamondbacks. I'm sorry I haven't gotten to all the questions, but look forward to being back again.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.