Ken Kendrick, Diamondbacks managing partner, recently called out two of the team’s stars. Justin Upton and Stephen Drew were lambasted by Kendrick on XTRA 910 AM in Phoenix. In Upton’s case, Kendrick criticized him for being inconsistent.
“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.”
Upton is currently hitting .243/.340/.365 with five HRs and 20 RBI in 212 plate appearances. This comes after a .289/.369/.529 campaign in 2011, which garnered a Silver Slugger award and a fourth-place finish in the NL MVP race.
As for Drew, Kendrick questioned whether the shortstop wants to play again before he becomes a free agent after this season.
“I think Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen’s going to be a year from now than going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary.“
Drew hasn’t played since breaking his ankle last year sliding into home. He hit .252/.317/.396 in 2011 before the injury. He hasn’t hit as well as he did (.291/.333/.502) in 2008, over the past two seasons, which has some fans thinking he’ll never live up to the hype.
Drew’s agent, the lovable Scott Boras, fired back at Kendrick’s comments, adding:
“If you’re talking about what the best thing Stephen can do for himself, that’s to play baseball and play a lot of it. I don’t think he wants anything different. That’s the best thing he can do for Stephen and for his team. Why would he not want to play? The guy’s going to be a free agent.“
When will non-baseball people not comment on on-field matters, publicly?
A friendly hat tip to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic for transcribing the on-air interview and Brad Cesmat of XTRA Sports 910. Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.