May 17, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick introduceTony La Russa
, as the Chief Baseball Officer before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
To say that the Diamondbacks have made some questionable moves over the past few years is an understatement. It might be why along with major injuries, that the Dbacks have not made the playoffs since 2011. The Justin Upton trade immediately comes to mind. The Dbacks traded him and Chris Johnson in January of 2013 to the Atlanta Braves for Randall Delgado, Martin Prado, Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed, and Brandon Druy. While Druy and Ahmed might develop into something, right now its basically the Upton for nothing trade because Prado is not in Arizona. Meanwhile Upton is having a great year, leading the Braves offense right now.
Of course, other questionable deals have been made by General Manager Kevin Towers and his baseball operations staff, and that is the reason why the Dbacks hired Tony La Russa as the team’s first ever Chief Baseball Officer to run baseball operations. Towers might not be the G.M come next season.
One guy that often goes unnoticed in the Dbacks organization is Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick is one of many owners around Major League Baseball that likes to get involved with baseball decisions, and ultimately the owner makes the final decision on a deal since he is the one with the money. Granted, the owner usually sides with the baseball operations staff.
That might not always be the case with the Snakes. John Perrotto of Sports On Earth wrote an article about Tony La Russa, and the learning that he has to do in his new role. In the article he mentioned this about Kendrick’s role in the Brandon McCarthy and Cody Ross accusations:
"“Two sources — one currently in the organization and one now working for another club — confirmed that it was Kendrick who told Towers to sign outfielder Cody Ross and right-hander Brandon McCarthy as free agents during the 2012-13 offseason against the objections of the baseball operations department.”"
I am having a hard time believing this, and if there is one thing I have learned about journalism in the 21st century, its that you cant always trust every source. However, Kendrick does have a reputation of being heavily involved in baseball operations decisions, and many around the game say that he is to involved.
If this report is true, something is messed up in the Dbacks organization. The ownership needs to trust the baseball operations department to make the right decision for the ball club both in the short run and long run. If Towers really didn’t want to sign McCarthy and Ross, and Kendrick said they had to, then that is not the way to do it. McCarthy didn’t have a good Dbacks career, and Ross has been bothered by injuries and lost playing time.
Of course, we dont know if this is really true, but it is in interesting topic to explore. With La Russa in charge, I am sure Kendrick’s influence on moves and trades will go down a bit. He needs to trust the Hall of Famer. The Dbacks will certainly be active this season to try to get back to contention in 2015.