With roughly a third of the 2012 MLB season in the books, the Diamondbacks still have plenty of time to turn things around. Heading into this season, expectations were high in Arizona.The D-Backs won the NL West last season with an impressive 94 win total and have returned Stephen Drew and Justin Upton. However, they are currently third in the NL West with a record of 26-30. Things have taken an unexpected turn, and D-Backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick believes the team’s young stars are part of the problem.
“I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now, frankly,” Kendrick said in reference to the gruesome ankle injury Drew suffered last season, according to the Arizona Republic. “I, for one, am disappointed. I’m going to be real candid and say Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen is going to be a year from now than on going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary.”
Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, says that is nonsense. Drew has a mutual player/club option worth $10 million for next season, and if either side denies he’ll be in search of a new contract.
“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,” Boras said. “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.”
On Tuesday evening, Kendrick stood by his comments via text message and said he knows enough about the situation to have an “informed” opinion. As for Upton, Kendrick is frustrated with his .243 average coming off a season in which he finished fourth in the NL MVP voting.
“He’s certainly not the Justin Upton that he has been in the past and that we would expect of him,” Kendrick said. “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.”
If the Diamondbacks respond well to criticism, they should be poised for a terrific run. In terms of calling out your team, it doesn’t get any more straightforward than that.
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