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Kevin Towers, Diamondbacks Looking At Free Agent Pitchers

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a lot of depth at pitching. We counted ten guys who could possibly compete for a starting job in the rotation and forgot to in include Micah Owings in that list. All of those guy, except for Owings, are young and inexperienced which is why we argued for the D-backs to retain the services of veteran lefty Joe Saunders.

General Manager Kevin Towers seems to be on the same page. At a charity golf event benefiting veterans, Towers talked about his search for veteran pitching options. And while Saunders is still in the mix, he's also kicking the tires on the free agent market.

"The scenario we've looked at is we could add some more veteran pitching to our club we would. We've reached out to a couple of pitchers who are free agents but the primary focus has been our infield," Towers said on Friday which happened to be his 50th birthday.

Towers wouldn't comment on any specific pitchers although the D-backs have been rumored to have interest in Dodger starter Hiroki Kuroda.

The infield is mostly set with the John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist signings. The only outstanding question is second baseman Aaron Hill

Towers has an offer out to Hill that expires early next week. He is expecting an answer one way or another by Monday which would give him a clear idea of team needs heading into the general manager meetings in Milwaukee next week.

"If we get Aaron (Hill) back our focus will change to pitching," Towers said.

If the D-backs don't get Hill back, they would likely move Ryan Roberts to second base and look for options at third when Geoff Blum is only other player slotted for that position. 

As for Saunders, the D-backs have until December 12 before then have to tender him an offer and begin the arbitration process. If they non-tender Saunders and allow him to leave as a free agent, the D-backs wouldn't receive a compensation draft pick.

"If we get out there and find that the price for free agent pitching is above and beyond where we think the value is for those guys, we've got a great internal candidate in Joe (Saunders)," Towers said.

"We might, when it's all said and done, find out that most of the best options are here internally with Saunders and the kids that we currently got in our system."

Stephen Drew update

Stephen Drew's status still remains a question mark coming off a serious ankle injury. He's currently slated to start baseball activities about six weeks before spring training. At that point the team would know more about his timeline and status for the start of the season.

Towers points out that it's a contract year for Drew and he will be highly motivated to do everything he can to prove he can play. If he's not healthy, the Bloomquist and McDonald signings give the team ample protection.

Venezuela situation

Towers said the Diamondbacks have seven or eight players in Venezuela where Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was recently kidnapped. Players such as Colin Cowgill and Barry Enright are there along with hitting coach Don Baylor. Other players who are from the country and there as well.

The D-backs have had discussions about bringing their players home but haven't made a decision. Towers, who played in Columbia and other Latin American countries said it's safe for guys who stay around their hotels and avoid the wrong areas. 

Charity Golf event

The event at Wild Horse Pass on veterans day brought together a mix of current and former players. Guys like former second baseman Junior Spivey and current first basemen Paul Goldschmidt got together to have a little fun and raise money that benefits a variety of organizations and programs aimed at military veterans.

"Just to be able to come out here and gold and remember the veterans and support out troops is what this whole things about. I feel like it's a fun thing for everybody to do," pitcher Ian Kennedy explained.