Thor Nystrom

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D'Backs Boss Bites Drew

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Your name is Ken Kendrick. Over 40 years ago, you began your career at IBM. Just three years later, you founded Datatel, Inc., and made enough money to move abroad and sip mai tais for the rest of your life. You didn't want to do that. You moved on from technology in the 80's, possibly because you sought new challenges. You proved wildly successful in the financial service and banking industries.


You helped bring baseball to Arizona. You're a lauded philanthropist.


By all accounts, you are a brilliant man. You create, you invent, you revolutionize. You also are extremely generous. The charities you work with rake in millions of dollars a year. But, at your core, you are just like the rest of us, aren't you, Mr. Kendrick? You love baseball. I mean, you LOVE it. Not only did you aid in the procurement of an expansion franchise in the Valley of the Sun, but you are also a trading card nerd who purchased Honus Wagner's famous 1909 T206 card once owned by Wayne Gretzky. Presently, your nonpareil collection of exotic cards is on loan to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


I will never be half as smart as you, nor 1-percent as successful. But—forgive me—I'm paid to ask these questions: What in the hell did you believe you were accomplishing on Tuesday?


On some radio show called "Big Guy on Sports," Kendrick had this to say about rehabbing shortstop Stephen Drew:


"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."


Mr. Kendrick wasn't done. He also decided to take a shot at franchise cornerstone Justin Upton, calling him an "enigma" and saying he hasn't played like the player Arizona expects. "It's time for him to be a consistent performer," Kendrick said.


Look: If I were in Kendrick's position, controlling my anger would be the most difficult aspect of my job. You're the managing general partner of the Diamondbacks, you've been with them since inception and in some ways you treat them like your child. That's human nature. But blasting Drew—who very well may be milking his rehabilitation either to create leverage for an extension, or, as Kendrick suggests, to be 100% healthy when he inevitably hits free agency over the winter—is a fool's errand.


If your goal was to tarnish Drew's reputation, you're too late. J.D. didn't do his brother any favors in establishing the family name as a paragon of virtue in baseball circles. If your goal was to get Drew to return before his own timeline, you just detonated any chance of it.


Drew and the Diamondbacks have a $10 million mutual option for 2013 that has less chance of exercising than Bartolo Colon on an off day. Divorce may have been inevitable, but the guise of amicability is just good business. You know that, Mr. Kendrick. You’ve been too successful for too long.


As for Upton, I'm speechless. In cases like this, Mr. Kendrick, honesty isn't the best policy. Silence is.


Red Sox pull plug on Bard experiment... for now


Boston may have outsmarted themselves over the offseason when they traded several assets—Josh Reddick, a pair of prospects, Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland—to acquire Andrew Bailey (and Ryan Sweeney) and Mark Melancon to replace Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard in the eighth and ninth innings.


As we now know, Bailey hasn't yet pitched for the BoSox, Melancon was a disaster before his banishment to the minors, and Bard was a glorified batting practice coach in the rotation until he was mercifully sent to Triple-A on Tuesday.


After one of the season's ugliest starts on Sunday against the Blue Jays—five runs on six walks, one hit and two HBP in just 1 2/3 innings—Bard was left with a 5.24 ERA, 1.62 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts (37 to 34).


Papelbon's exit was inevitable. But the decisions that followed may end up being the margin between Boston playing in October or reading the local media's annual offseason witch-hunt to locate the perpetrator(s) of another lost season (watch your back, Bobby V!).


Apparently, Bard will continue to work as a starter in the minors as the Red Sox refuse to abandon plans for him to be a future cog in the rotation. For now. Who knows.


In the interim, mixed leaguers would be wise to cut bait. AL-only owners should hang on to Bard unless playing in a shallow format and in need of a bench spot.



Feeling a Draft?


Despite the fact that you're reading this column, there is approximately a 99.3% chance that you didn't give a rip about Rounds 2-10 of MLB's draft, conducted Tuesday.


You're out of luck, because I watched hours of Day Two coverage online. I've seen so much Jonathan Mayo over the past 48 hours that I began hallucinating yesterday afternoon that he was one of those embryos pulled out of The Matrix, like Keanu Reeves. Later in the day, as Mayo continued to espouse knowledge about high schoolers in Texas that not even those children's parents knew about, I started to think he looked and acted like a Pre-Cog from Minority Report. Just like Samantha Morton's Agatha, Mayo was bald, omniscient and seemingly trapped in a hell he couldn't escape.


The Astros kicked off Tuesday's festivities by taking University of Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana at No. 61 overall.


Other picks of note:


The Twins spent most of the day trying to convince the industry that they really, really—no seriously, guys!—like power arms now. They kicked off the paradigm shift with Northwestern State's Mason Melotakis at No. 63 and Rice's J.T. Chargois at No. 72.


Cincinnati snatched Baseball America's top available prospect with the 78th pick, tabbing prep shortstop Tanner Rahier (who projects at the hot corner at the next level). He's going to be extremely difficult to sign, but if the Reds can pull it off, they just landed a nice power-hitting third base prospect.


The Red Sox caught falling high school right-handed pitcher Ty Buttrey at No. 151. The 6-6, 210 pounder was ranked as the 25th best high school baseball recruit by ESPN and was projected as a possible supplemental first-round pick. Boston will have to pony up to keep him from his commitment to Arkansas.


In my favorite story of the day, the Dodgers took wacky Cuban defector Onelki Garcia, a 22-year-old left-handed pitcher, at No. 113. Garcia's long, strange journey has taken him from innocent defector to a dude reportedly involved in doctoring papers and demanding a $7 million bonus. He made the mistake of moving to the United States too early, apparently. Nebulous machinations had him ruled eligible and then ineligible for the 2011 draft. Those are just bullet points from several stories I read yesterday. Frankly, I don't know who to trust.


Word to the wise, Onelki: You're going to have to take a zero off your asking price or take your act overseas.



Nobody Cares Quick Hits: Major League Baseball announced that it would allow players to use social media outlets during the All-Star Game; unfortunately, Jose Canseco retired long ago, depriving hardball fans the privilege of a "I complete you all and slap a hater" tweet after he whiffed against Stephen Strasburg.


National League Quick Hits: "I'm not right," Jamie Garcia said after allowing six runs over just two innings against the Astros. Skipped in the rotation last week due to elbow soreness, Garcia may be headed to the disabled list, despite claiming his pain is gone ... Jason Bay (rib) expects to be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday … The Pirates promoted Alex Presley from Triple-A Indianapolis after he hit .277 with five homers, 14 RBI, four stolen bases and a 1.015 OPS in 18 games. Those numbers are obviously a fluke, but the young outfielder is worth a look to all you NL-only owners ... Tim Hudson notched his 13th career shutout in holding the Marlins to five hits and three walks while striking out three ... Carlos Quentin smacked two homers in San Diego's victory over the Giants and is now is hitting a ludicrous .522/.577/1.348 with five homers and nine RBI in six games since returning from the DL ... Huston Street returned from the disabled list and earned a victory with a scoreless ninth versus the Giants ... The Rockies and Dodgers have talked to the Nationals about starter John Lannan, according to Ken Rosenthal of ... The Padres are considering moving Andrew Cashner into the rotation, but a change isn't imminent ... Javy Guerra is expected to miss 4-6 weeks following right knee surgery.


American League Quick Hits: The Tigers are considering making Quintin Berry their regular left fielder once Austin Jackson (abdomen) comes off the disabled list. As long as he is getting at-bats, Berry’s Mach 7 speed makes him relevant in most fantasy formats ...  Dustin Pedroia (thumb) returned to Boston's lineup after missing six games ... Alex Avila missed two games due to right hamstring tightness and left Tuesday's game in the sixth inning after aggravating the same injury ... Joe Mauer (thumb) missed a second straight game, but the Twins hope he'll be back on Friday ... Colby Rasmus went 5-for-5 with a homer in a victory over the White Sox ... Paul Konerko had a minor procedure on his left wrist but expects to play on Wednesday ... Mark Trumbo went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and four RBI against the Mariners ... Francisco Liriano spun six innings of one-run ball against the Royals. In two starts since returning to the rotation, Frankie has allowed just one run over 12 innings to go with a 17/3 K/BB rate ... Rangers skipper Ron Washington said Roy Oswalt will not replace Scott Feldman in the rotation on Saturday ... Felix Hernandez (back) hopes to return to the rotation Sunday, but the Mariners think next Tuesday is more realistic ... The Angels summoned Hank Conger from Triple-A to replace Bobby Wilson (concussion) on the active roster. Snatch up Conger immediately in AL-only leagues ... The Blue Jays have expressed interest in acquiring Matt Garza from the Cubs, reports Rosenthal ... Desmond Jennings (left knee) and Carlos Santana (concussion) were activated from the DL on Tuesday.

Thor Nystrom is a Rotoworld contributor on the MLB and NFL Draft sections. Follow him on Twitter @thorku.
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