Kendrick expects Upton back, Bauer to mature

Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick said in a radio interview Wednesday the team’s top pitching prospect, Trevor Bauer, must adjust to the team’s needs and “grow up” to thrive as a major-league player.

Bauer, who made four big-league starts this season, has been a bit of a lightning rod because of his unusual warmup routine and insistence on pitching to his strengths rather than adjusting to hitters.

“I will say this: He is the employee, and in an employer/employee situation, it’s incumbent on the employee to make adjustments to satisfy the needs of his employer,” Kendrick told 620 KTAR. “I hope and trust that that will occur.”

Bauer, 21, went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in his brief major-league stint, which general manager Kevin Towers in July called a “wake-up call.” Asked if he sees Bauer as part of the future in Arizona, Kendrick said he did, as long as Bauer makes the necessary adjustments to fit what the D-backs expect.

“I think we all need to grow up and mature and learn from our elders, and hopefully Trevor will recognize the need to do that to become an outstanding major-league player,” Kendrick said. “The talent is there; I think there’s no doubt of that.”

After going 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA between stops at Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno this season, Bauer earned the D-backs’ Pitcher of the Year award. He was not called up for a late-season start. Fellow young arms Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin, meanwhile, finished the season in the starting rotation.
Kendrick also addressed the possibility of right fielder Justin Upton being traded this off-season, given the logjam in the D-backs’ outfield. Kendrick defended Upton’s season and reiterated his fondness for the former No. 1 draft pick.

“I think Justin, even in a down year, has made significant contributions to this team,” Kendrick said. “I would think it’s highly likely we’ll see Justin Upton in a Diamondback uniform next season.”

Upton was one of only four NL players to score 100 or more runs this season, entering Wednesday tied for the league lead at 107. Still, Kendrick wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a trade, noting Towers’ willingness to always listen.

“It’s Kevin’s nature, and I support this very much, that you just flat don’t say no, ever, to any opportunity,” Kendrick said. “Are we going to go out and ‘shop’ Justin Upton? I think not.”