Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/17/14

The defending NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks are off to a rough start this year. They currently sit five games under .500 and nine games out of the division lead. As you might imagine, frustrations in the desert have been mounting. Today though, those frustrations all came to the surface, or at least they did for Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick who went on a George Steinbrenner-esque rant during a radio interview today.

He started things off by taking injured shortstop Stephen Drew to task for what he perceives to be an unacceptably slow recovery from the grotesque ankle injury Drew suffered last season:

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.

In the parlance of Yosemite Sam, them's fightin' words! You'd think that Drew would get a little more slack considering the severity of his injury, but perhaps Kendrick is familiar with the notorious Drew family philosophy on taking their sweet time rehabbing their injuries and wants to light a fire under J.D.'s baby brother. Or maybe he is more concerned about that Drew family philosophy on focusing on their next contract, which may well be the case since Stephen could be a free agent this off-season provided the Snakes and Drew don't both pick up his mutual option for 2013. The odds of that option being picked up by either party suddenly looks a lot less likely now that Kendrick just doused and ignited some gasoline on that bridge after that pretty awesome "integrity" slam at the end.

But Kendrick wasn't done there. Underachieving Justin Upton also felt some of the verbal wrath:

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.

That "enigma" was an MVP candidate last season and the cornerstone of the franchise, so this attack, while much milder could cut a little deeper. Now, Upton is signed through 2015, so there is plenty of time for the team to mend fences with him, but this kind of bashing is clearly ill-advised. It isn't as if Upton is unaware of his struggles, so for Kendrick to perhaps think that being called out in public by the owner is what Upton needs to get going is just plain moronic.

Or maybe Ken Kendrick wasn't thinking anything at all here and simply let his emotions get the best of him.

Here is the link to the full interview if you want to hear the audio bile for yourself.

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1 Comment:
  • Haven't followed Drew's rehab that closely but it has been a long time. As for Upton, it's been obvious to me that he's got some kind of attitude problem, most obvious in his outfield play which has always been suspect. In the past week or so I've seen him loaf on three different pop flies that all should have been caught. He quits running 10 yards before he gets to the ball and then you see it drop 5 feet in front of him. Of course he is always among the league leaders in errors by outfielders which seems to be caused by a lack of focus but there can never be any excuse for lack of hustle.
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