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D-backs GM on Archie Bradley’s future role: ‘We want to get him the ball’

Arizona Diamondbacks' Archie Bradley celebrates his two-run triple against the Colorado Rockies during the seventh inning of the National League wild-card playoff baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

LISTEN: Torey Lovullo, D-backs' manager

For a team to go from 69 wins one season to 93 the next, a lot of positive change was going to be involved.

For the Arizona Diamondbacks, it was a plethora of things. Torey Lovullo’s philosophies in the clubhouse, Robbie Ray’s breakout year, Zack Greinke’s recovery year, the acquisition of J.D. Martinez are just a few.

Those changes are larger in scope, but a smaller one was a promising prospect moving from the starting rotation to the bullpen.

The D-backs weren’t planning on Archie Bradley to go to the bullpen at the start of spring training, but it was the move they made at the end of it.

Based on circumstance more than anything, according to general manager Mike Hazen, Bradley and his ever-growing facial hair moved to a relief role.

With the move, Bradley found far and away the most success of his MLB career to date, putting a lock on the team’s eighth inning as the set-up man to closer Fernando Rodney.

Bradley posted a terrific 1.73 ERA, striking out 79 batters in 73 innings and cementing himself as one of the league’s best relievers.

With the season ending Monday night, though, the question now posed was what direction the 25-year-old goes in from here. Is he back to the rotation, does he stay in the eighth or does he take over the ninth?

“We talked about (it),” Hazen said Tuesday. “We’re going to sit back in the offseason and sort of reflect on that and think about what is the best way for Archie to impact his club next year.

“We all recognize the talent. We want to get him the ball. We want him to pitch as much as possible, but we want him to have as big of an imprint on the team as we can and that may come in various forms.”

Hazen said there will be another meeting with Bradley after the offseason unfolds and he, Lovullo and Bradley will all be on the same page as to what Bradley’s role is. Much depends on how the rest of the pitching staff looks come the beginning of spring training.

“The beauty of who Archie Bradley is, is we just sat down … Archie said, ‘I want the baseball, and whatever role you want me to fill, I’ll be ready,'” Lovullo told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Tuesday.

That said, there’s no question where Bradley wants to be.

“I always have dreams of starting again,” Bradley said Tuesday. “But I do understand what I did this year and how important it was to some of our success and it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.”

While where Bradley will be plugged in on the pitching staff remains a mystery for the time being, Bradley has a good idea of what he’s going to look like in whatever role he has.

“I’ll take a good, long, hard few days to think about it, but (the beard is) probably going to stay,” he said.

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