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D’Backs owner Ken Kendrick takes on Stephen Drew, Justin Upton

Jun 5, 2012, 7:06 PM EDT

Ken Kendrick celebrates after winning the National League West in Phoenix. Reuters

Ken Kendrick, managing general partner of the Diamondbacks, decided to go public with his frustrations regarding Stephen Drew and Justin Upton on Tuesday.

Drew, of course, has yet to play this season after breaking and tearing ligaments in his ankle last July. He has recently been participating in extended spring training games.

That’s not enough for Kendrick, who apparently believes Drew should have returned several weeks ago. Doing a radio interview today, he said:

You know, I’m going to be real direct about Stephen. I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now. And, frankly, I for one am disappointed.

I’m going to be real candid and say I think Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen is going to be a year from now than going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary.

All you can do is hope that the player is treating the situation with integrity, and, frankly, we have our concerns.

Kendrick also had some remarks for Justin Upton, who has been a disappointment while hitting .243/.340/.365 with five homers and 20 RBI in 181 at-bats this season.

Well, I think Justin is an enigma at this point. I know he had an injury early on, maybe a little bit of a nagging injury. But he’s played. He’s certainly not the Justin Upton that he has been in the past and that we would expect of him. He’s 24 years old, and it’s time for him to be a consistent performer and right now this year he’s not been that.

What Kendrick hopes to gain from his little rants is unclear, but Drew sure is looking like a goner at season’s end. There’s a mutual $10 million option for 2013 on his contract that neither the Diamondbacks nor Drew might have much interest in exercising.

Upton is almost certainly around to stay. Kendrick might want to back off there, considering that Upton was one of the NL’s most valuable players last season. It’s not as though he’s been a long-term disappointment. He’s off to a rough start, but at the same time, he’s not exactly killing the team with his league-average OPS.

  1. alexb64 - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Sounds like pretty much what I’d expect from the current generation of pro sports owners.

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I fail to see how doing this is going to help the situation any. If anything he just made these guys want to stay on this team a lot less.

  3. The Common Man - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Dear Ken Kendrick, you hired baseball people to take care of this stuff. Let them do their jobs, shut up, and sign the checks. Acting like the Desert George Steinbrenner is only going to hurt you in the long run.

  4. randygnyc - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    “All you can do is hope that the player is treating the situation with integrity, and, frankly, we have our concerns”

    That is a harsh statement. Regardless of it’s veracity, that relationship is essentially over and will probably effect Drew’s value, with other teams, going forward.

  5. ezthinking - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Drews role model is the other inspirationless Drew. Be glad when he’s gone.

    • alexb64 - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:49 PM

      huh? JD Drew was certainly a chronically injured guy who never quite lived up to the hype that holding out & forcing his way out of Philly created but how is Stephen taking after him? Stephen suffered a really nasty injury playing and prior to that never played in less than 135 games aside from his rookie season when he got called up mid season.

    • The Common Man - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      Is your role model HalladaysBicepts? Because your comment is as asinine as anything else that’s been uttered on this site.

  6. cogitobaseballergosum - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    So he’s got one player who had a really nasty injury and evidently doesn’t want to risk trying to come back too soon, and criticizes him for not being willing to play at less than 100%. And he’s got another player who’s been able to play through nagging injuries at less than 100%, and criticizes him for not performing up to his full capabilities in spite of the injuries.

    It really does sound a Steinbrenner comment, circa 1980. He probably thinks he’s motivating the players.

  7. ningenito78 - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Hey owner boy. Shut the f–k up and let them play. Don’t try acting like you’re George Steinbrenner all of the sudden. It’s unbecoming and it’s cheesy. Plus your franchise lives in obscurity. Can’t wait to see Drew manning short for the Mets and Upton playing OF for the Yanks. Then you can really cry in your caviar and lobster bisque.

  8. larryfitzgerald4mvp - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    It’s easy to be upset with these comments if you’re an average fan, but they make sense as a dbacks fan. I think the Drew comment is Kendrick expressing his true feelings that Boras is going to price Drew out of Arizona’s range, so why should Drew rush back for them this year.

    I think Drew is a classy player, but money can certainly cloud things and the Drew family has a bad reputation. Stephen was drafted in 04 and signed on the last day possible in 05. JD Drew chose not to sign with Philly and was always viewed as a guy who didn’t play with maximum effort.

    The Upton comment is completely fair game. Upton is the most inconsistent superstar in baseball. It’s his 5th full season now and he’s been up-down every single year. I understand that the guy is still young, but at some point you have to make improvements. His thumb may be bothering him, but if it is then he should do the smart thing and sit out.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jun 5, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Even if the comments are all true what good does saying them out loud do? If he wanted to have a chance of these guys signing extension with the team these comments don’t do anything to help that.

    • cogitobaseballergosum - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:45 AM

      Upton isn’t even the most inconsistent player in his family, let alone in baseball.

    • tgagbradley - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      I think Stephen is a great player and if the team can find a way to keep him, they should, but I don’t see the team paying out the nose for him. Now on Upton, he can be a good player but he has never been the “superstar” they have tried to make him out to be. also this year I do not see him hustle for any balls in the outfield. The age is not in question now, he has been in the big leagues for 6 years now. If he can’t do the job, get rid of him. I also did not like the commets he made after last nights game, he sounded like a spoiled child. grow up Justin and act like a man.

  9. mashoaf - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    If I were drew I would prefer to be able to walk 10 years down the road. Ankles and feet are a touchy thing to heal. Don’t act like you know what’s going on with the player if you are not the player.

  10. ningenito78 - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    larryfitzgerald4mvp- your assessment on Drew is spot on. It’s a bloodline (father) thing. But you’re wrong about Upton in the fact that he just isn’t a superstar. Look at his brother. It’s just a case of scouting and measurables clouding a picture. The 2 Upton’s are good players but superstars they’re not. They are what a million other ‘top prospects’ have turned out to be. Solid. But not superstars.

  11. larryfitzgerald4mvp - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    I’d agree that he isn’t a star at this point. I think Upton has the potential to be a star, he’s played like one for stretches of his career, but in order to actually be a star he has to hit well consistently. He can hit .360 one month and then .230 the next.

    I’m hoping that he’ll have a Kemp-like turnaround in a year or so, but it’s mostly hope right now. After all, Kemp was an inconsistent player until he became a superstar last year.

  12. yahmule - Jun 5, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Drew has gotten some people excited with a couple flashes of star potential, but the bulk of his work suggests a player who is slightly above average for his position. Upton seems like a guy who will play great when everything about him is 100%. His performance really drops off when he’s dealing with any kind of injury. The problem is the grind of a long season makes staying 100% healthy all year extremely unlikely. Kendrick probably should have been more diplomatic, but I can’t see people getting upset over him voicing his opinion.

  13. guitarmandodger - Jun 6, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Drew was mostly “mailing” it in before the injury. He and his bro are notorious for being milk toast of baseball. For them its all about MONEY.
    Upton has never lived up to the hype or the contract. He walks around like he’s the new Babe Ruth while sporting at best a .240 average. For much of the early season he was batting a buck fifty. And, he clanks them in the outfield as well. Again, family disease. His bro has been in trouble with management several times for lack of hustle. I think he should be embarrassed taking the 50 million.
    You may not like Kendricks comments, but he is right on.

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