"I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now, frankly," Kendrick said. "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."
He added the following regarding Upton, "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."
The Diamondbacks went from 65-97 in 2010 to winning the NL west with a 94-68 record in 2011. They currently sit in the middle of the pack in the NL West at 26-30. Many picked the Diamondbacks to win the division and why not? They achieved a lot of success due to the development of young players such as Juston Upton, Miguel Montero, Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and some surprises such as Ryan Roberts and Josh Collmenter.
I find it funny that the same people who picked the D'backs to finish forth or last in 2011 were picking them to finish first this year. They did take on some salary by investing some money in players such as Jason Kubel and Trevor Cahill and resigned LHP Joe Saunders when it did not seem like they had the money to. To a point, I understand the owner's frustration. Calling out Drew accomplishes nothing though; Drew is not helping his case to get a new contract by not playing. Whether he winds up playing for the D'backs or not, it is more beneficial for him to be playing right now as opposed to sitting.
Lets not forget, Drew is returing from a serious ankle fracture. Is he supposed to be back by now? Maybe, but to simply get back on your feet and walk is not the same as cranking it up and going at full speed. The extra time could benefit Drew solely by keeping him healthy as opposed to having him return at some restricted duty.
Upton is just 24, and I think it was more foolish that the owner went after him. Kendrick has a manager in Kirk Gibson who is not afraid to get in a player's face. Players, no matter how good they are, fall into slumps and this is the major one of Juston's career. It is up to the manager to catagorize his players and the D'backs are building their team around Upton. So what happens if he never gains his form again? They lose their nucleas. I honestly think he should have been left out of the discussion. Upton deserves some positive reinforcement here, expecially since he is the leader and only 24.