D’Backs owner Ken Kendrick takes on Stephen Drew, Justin Upton

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Ken Kendrick, managing general partner of the Diamondbacks, decided to go public with his frustrations regarding Stephen Drew and Justin Upton on Tuesday.

Drew, of course, has yet to play this season after breaking and tearing ligaments in his ankle last July. He has recently been participating in extended spring training games.

That’s not enough for Kendrick, who apparently believes Drew should have returned several weeks ago. Doing a radio interview today, he said:

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.

Kendrick also had some remarks for Justin Upton, who has been a disappointment while hitting .243/.340/.365 with five homers and 20 RBI in 181 at-bats this season.

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.

What Kendrick hopes to gain from his little rants is unclear, but Drew sure is looking like a goner at season’s end. There’s a mutual $10 million option for 2013 on his contract that neither the Diamondbacks nor Drew might have much interest in exercising.

Upton is almost certainly around to stay. Kendrick might want to back off there, considering that Upton was one of the NL’s most valuable players last season. It’s not as though he’s been a long-term disappointment. He’s off to a rough start, but at the same time, he’s not exactly killing the team with his league-average OPS.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.