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Dodgers News: Stan Kasten Speaks at FanFest and Many Fans Are Not Happy

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 28: Andrew Friedman, President of Baseball Operations, and Stan Kasten, president, and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers talk before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on April 28, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Dodgers fans love their team, that much will never be in question, but the pulse all offseason has been that fans are “tired” of the team not pursuing players such as Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, or other top players in the game.

Los Angeles Times columnist Dylan Hernandez, while covering the FanFest at Dodger Stadium, had an encounter with team President Stan Kasten.

From Hernandez’s article, here’s the first exchange with Kasten:

Such concerns are likely to be downplayed by team President Stan Kasten, who dismissed concerns over the team as “anecdotal,” even fictional.

“You keep making this stuff up,” Kasten said.

That was how Kasten started deflecting questions about the team’s alarming lack of spending this offseason.

“I’m dealing with facts,” Kasten said.

The facts, Kasten said, are that season-ticket sales point to the Dodgers leading baseball in attendance again. And if season tickets are selling, everything must be A-OK. – Dylan Hernandez, LA Times

Luxury Tax

The second controversial part was regarding how the luxury tax threshold is impacting team spending.

So if they would be penalized as a first-time offender this year and have plenty of money coming off the books next year, why haven’t they spent more this offseason? Is this a warning of what is to come in future seasons?

“That’s also such a weird narrative,” Kasten said. “If we can do whatever we do and stay under [the luxury-tax threshold], there are a lot of advantages to being under — by the way, a lot more advantages than you all write about.”

Such as?

“I’m not going to go into that because that’s real inside baseball economic stuff,” Kasten said.

Told fans would be interested in the details, Kasten replied, “Hold on. Let me finish the answer. Some of the things are elsewhere in the collective bargaining agreement that no one’s bothered to look at. Some of the things are inside baseball. So there are more advantages than just a little tax.”

Still, no details.

Asked again if he didn’t want to offer fans an explanation for the team’s relative inactivity on the free-agent market, Kasten said, “You’re inventing a narrative that I don’t agree with because, like I said, I can almost tell you for sure, we’re going to lead the National League in attendance again. You’re inventing a different universe that is not borne out by reality, by facts.” – Dylan Hernandez, LA Times

Further on regarding the luxury tax after just signing A.J. Pollock:

What Kasten did say was that ownership hasn’t issued a directive to remain under the luxury-tax threshold.

In fact, after signing center fielder A.J. Pollock to a four-year, $55-million contract, Kasten said, “We may be over already.” – Dylan Hernandez, LA Times

The Reaction

On Twitter, the media and fan response was intense on both sides.

Are The Dodgers Already Over The Tax Theshold?

They actually might be, depending on how the season plays out. As of January 27, factoring in the Pollock contract, the Dodgers are about $6M under the threshold but that is before any incentives that are contained in the contracts of Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda. Remember, the luxury tax threshold is based on Annual Average Value (AAV) over the lifetime of the contract. Dodgers Nation has the details about the salaries here.

As this article from Major League Baseball Trade Rumors states regarding the Dodgers’ spending:

They did, after all, make the largest cash commitment to a position player thus far this winter.

Are The Dodgers Mandated To Stay Under The Threshold?

Given what Bill Shaikin reported for the LA Times in November 2018:

The Dodgers plan to keep their player payroll below the level that would require a luxury tax payment for at least the next four years, according to a document prepared for potential investors that was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

It is good news to hear Kasten say “was that ownership hasn’t issued a directive to remain under the luxury-tax threshold.” Given that they are barely under it does seem that they will need to exceed the threshold if they need to improve the team during the season. For all Dodger fan sanity, let’s hope and pray there isn’t an issue exceeding it if needed.

“Real Inside Baseball Economic Stuff”

Where Kasten set a lot of people off was his reluctance to explain how the luxury tax works. Our readers already know about how the Qualifying Offer is impacted by the threshold. The other things are the actual tax penalties, the impact to a draft pick and, the little known, income from teams crossing the threshold. It was arrogant and condescending towards the fans. Maybe Kasten just doesn’t like Dylan Hernandez or the way the questioning was going.

Back To Fan Satisfaction

Kasten spoke about how season ticket sales are leading all of baseball as an indication that the fans are satisfied.

I am a season ticket holder and know plenty of other season ticket holders. Most of us are not satisfied. The Dodgers have come so close to winning the World Series but the 2017 series, that they should have won, has done major damage to many in the fan base. Regarding the plans of the Dodgers my Dodgers Nation compadre said:

This is well known and mentioned in Shaikin’s article also.

(We Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

My belief is that most fans interpreted the above vision to include winning the World Series, first. When this ownership group came on board in 2012 and made the Nick Punto trade most of us thought we’d have at least one World Series championship by now. For many reasons they have failed, but 95% of the responsibility falls on the players for not bringing it home. They should have beaten the Astros 4 games to 1 in 2017 but too many highly paid players did not come through.

These failures have made the fan base very unsatisfied. We watch (those who can) and attend games because we are passionate about the Dodgers and want to see them get that World Series championship. Most are not satisfied with winning divisions, making it to the World Series or leading in attendance. Those are nice things but now it has become “World Series win or bust” for most of us.

We also cannot discount the trading of popular players, especially Yasiel Puig. Personally, I am over that one but still bothered by the Juan Uribe trade. Things like that pile on to the dissatisfaction that will only go away with an early November parade in Downtown LA.

Final Thoughts

Stan Kasten deserves a lot of credit for bringing the Dodgers to the point they are at now. I did find many of these quotes offensive, especially by not answering the luxury tax issues and hiding behind “inside baseball economic stuff.” It is saying that the fan base is too dumb to understand the issues and they should just be happy the team is good. That’s not going to work. My hope is that Kasten comes out with another interview or statement to address the fan base in a more respectful way. I believe he is better than what we saw on Saturday.

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Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

38 Comments

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  1. I think there is blame to go all around. Kasten booted that interview like a bad 2nd baseman. I thought he was more polished than that. He came off like a politician. But the reporters are largely to blame for what the fans are expecting and believing rumors. I don’t remember seeing articles on why they shouldn’t sign Harper. I never thought he was a good fit yet all off season there were stories linking him to LA!
    Bottom line, we never had it so good, 5 titles, 2 world series, continued success, great fan favorites like Turner, Seager, Kike etc. I’m glad to be Dodger fan!

    • “We never had it so good?” Actually, in the Dodgers first 30 years in L.A. they averaged one World Series appearance every four years and won the title five times, In the 31 years since, two World Series appearances, total, 0 titles. Some of us are old enough to have grown up with Koufax, Drysdale, Wills, Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Cey, Valenzuela and Hershiser. We remember when we had it much better.

  2. After reading this again (the first time in the LA Times) there is so much to pick apart. But hey the Dodgers have been to the WS twice, they didn’t win buy they still got a trophy. They lead the MLB in attendance (do they get a flag for that?) and really, isn’t that what the season is all about? I get the feeling that the real goal of the FO is stay competitive in the NL West, stay below the luxury tax and raise ticket prices. That’s a formula for success!

    P.S. – Kasten should run for pubic office because he’s good using a lot of words without really saying anything.

    Now we read where the Padres are in on Machado and have the chips to trade for Realmuto. Wouldn’t the Dodgers’ FO have egg on their faces if the Pads went in big and got both, and all the Dodgers braintrust could muster was push with A.J. Pollock. Oh yeah, they got two ‘prospects’ from the Reds and lead the MLB in attendance.

    • Well, as of Feb. 9, Realmuto is a Phillie, Machado is still unsigned. If the Padres signed Machado (who the Dodgers and everyone else seems to believe like Harper is way too expensive) to a 8+ year deal, it will elevate the Padres to what, a 3rd Place fight with AZ and maybe SF? And cripple the Pads financially for at least 5 years like Grienke did to AZ?

  3. Wasn’t there, but these questions at “Fan Fest” seemed more like a Dylan Hernandez ambush than a reasoned interview. I have tried in the past to exchange thoughts with Hernandez and found him to be so arrogant that a reasoned communication was impossible. Clearly believes that he is always the smartest guy in a discussion and wants to emphasize that point.

    • I figured you would sympathize with the con man. You and steveJ are 2 peas in a pod too bad he’s not here lol. Btw your description of Dylan Hernandez fits the guy you voted for in 2016

  4. This con man just exposed himself and I’m so happy he did. Leading in attendance just means you’ve successfully conned a fan base once again. Kasten seems to only mention the business which is not surprising because that’s all that matters to these guys and for that they are 6 time reigning champions. But for everyone else they are giving these con men a ton of their money every year only to have it not be spent on building a championship caliber team but instead to build a bare minimum division winner that keeps loyal hopefulls coming in during the season and playoffs and that’s all they need to keep making money. The masses need to learn this and stop going. Thank you for exposing this jackass at fan fest

  5. Hernandez or another journalist should go to the front office of another team, maybe the Red Sox, and see if they will explain the nuances of the collective bargaining agreement that would be affected if the Dodgers went over the luxury tax after it’s been reset that Kasten feels we fans can’t understand. Or I’m sure Scott Boras would be happy to elaborate on it.

  6. There is only one true way to assure that the Los Angeles Dodgers will win the World Series: fans must stay away from the ballpark. The The only thing from preventing ownership spending to win at all costs is their perennial built in attendance. That is ownerships buffer. They are absolutely secure that no matter the optics, they are sitting on a gold mine. And so, the owners fundamentally know that all they must provide is a competitive team, not a championship one.

  7. I am personally delighted the Dodgers did not sign Harper. He never led Washington anywhere. He is part of that generation that says what can you do for me and not vice versa. If another big deal is to be made I hope it is for Kluber as a hedge against any of the starting pitchers, all of whom are st risk at going into the DL for extended stays

    • I don’t think it’s necessarily that the Dodgers have not signed Harper. It’s that they traded away and lost to free agency a number of productive players and have done little to plug the holes. If they land Realmuto and/or Kluber fans will be far less restive.

  8. I’m with Daniel on this one……..Hernandez and Plaschke whine and whine and whine, then they want more cheese…….SIX straight division tiles in a row……..TWO world series appearances in a row……..AND STILL the LA media and some fans are complaining…..I want this team to be competitive EVERY year…….the Dodgers have been doing that and then some…….but I am not going to demand they spend 400 million on some guy who MIGHT make us better and publicly crucify them (the Dodgers) for it when they do not want to make a move like that………..ask the other 27 MLB fan bases who have not won the last two world series how they would like to have this run we are on. Would we/they like to win the world series? Of course! But does this means Kasten and Company are not doing a great job? NO it does not.

    • And you are the classic reason why these greedy scumbags stick around. You’re satisfied with 2nd best and just being competitive. This team should be WS winners

        • We came close in 2017 but the way Roberts managed was in question, and the platooning (in part because of players being marginal as a result) in 2018 had a lot to do with it. But I cannot imagine a team being able to win these 2 WS with a pitching staff that in 12 games combine in 2017 and 2018, they gave up 23 HR’s that cost us games, while Dodgers managed 16 of their own.

    • Bluz1st, one can look at it different ways I guess and I do like the the run Dodgers are in, as I am sure most are too. the other side of the coin is that in the 20 WS this franchise has played in Dodgers lost 14 of them. Now it would be OK to say or ask how many teams in MLB other than the Yankees, Cards, A’s or Red Sox perhaps can claim they have won 14 League Championships.

  9. Well Kaston is a money guy clearly–Ima Dodger period–getting AJ was a good deal so was Kelly–But trading Puig was a very bad deal—he will come back to haunt us–Look he was coming into his own and if he does what he did in 2017 & 2018 for the next 5 to 7 yrs He will be close to a Hall of Famer and I think he will do even better with the Reds–He is still one of the best outfielders in all of Baseball and if he can hit 275 28 HRs 85 RBIs well you tell me? The Reds have a hitters park so he will do better with them–By the way after they traded Uribe and let Grienke go My wife doesnt watch the games with me anymore–The Dodgers are more than money and lets not forget–Very few fans including me like Roberts at all yet he gets a 4 yr deal? They just put a bigger Monkey on his back–Also Harper & Muchado are NOT worth 250 or 300 million and Realmuto is NOT worth Cody or even Verdugo or Ruiz either–for 2 yrs ? Then hes a free agent? Thats also the problem with Kluber—The Marlins and the Indians simply want too much and they are great players but simply put they want to much–Had we kept Puig and still got Pollock with everything else we would be as good or better than last year–Right now im not sure yet

      • Only thing on the surface is that he’s in the last year before he becomes a FAand Dodgers probably would not have given him a QO or attempt to re-sign him, just a thought.

    • You’re insane puig is not a HOF’r. And he won’t haunt us all our pitchers have to do is frustrate him with good pitches and his mental deficiencies will do the rest of the work for us

  10. Maybe Dylan Hernandez didn’t use the actual best approach in this or other interviews but Kasten is no angel either. Hey Stan..If ya can’t handle the heat from us fans, then GET THE HECK OUT OF THE KITCHEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! But Dandy Andy Freidman is as much to blame for treating this franchise like the small market Rays team. One big point I do agree on is the WS losses in 2017 and 2018 are mostly on the players who simply acted like they forgot how to play the game, along with Robert’s LUDICROUS managing decisions. Enough said.

  11. Mr. Kasten: I’m a 59-year old man who’s been a Dodger fan for 43 years. Leading the league in attendance for infinity years is NOT the same as WINNING the freaking World Series! Bring the dam World Championship to LA or get the hell out of town for good!

  12. A most interesting interview with Kasten. Frankly. I am going to push Kasten’s words to the side and wait this thing out. Kasten is not tipping his hand in my estaimation. He knows we want a WS flag, and he wants the money winning the WS would generate : hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. As PaulDodgerFan correctly states, it does appear that AF is running the Dodgers on a tight budget reminiscent of the Rays team he previously controlled. I will defer judgment until ST arrives!!!! To be this close to winning a championship and not doing so because we were afraid of paying a payroll tax makes no sense; I believe Kasten knows this. As he stated, “we may be over the limit now”. I am sure with the ASG being played at our home next season, nothing would give Dodger brass more pride than hoisting that flag for the entire world to see. I will nervously wait this out. Go Blue Crew!!!

    • I agree with the comments in regards to Dylan Hernandez’s approach but what do you expect from a beat writer he’s a fan of the team and Fan is short for FANATIC!!!!….
      If you take a deep breath and count to 10, stop listening to Stan Kasten for a moment and listen to Andrew Friedman. He’s given you a good idea and clearer picture all offseason as to what the Dodgers intent and plan has been, that’s his job not Stan Kastens. We’re not going to sign guys to 10yr $350 million deals. It just isn’t fiscally responsible nor is it a smart business practice for many reasons. The 1st being the clubhouse and the team dynamic. I could go on with examples of Kevin Brown, Pujols or even some guys we just got out from under a few years ago. Really People Tbink Before You React And At Least Direct The Reaction Where It Belongs. Kasten may be speaking as far as expenditures within the organization as a whole as well as upgrades and additions to Dodger Stadium and the fan experience they’re not willing to give defails on yet. Quit being spoiled babies and appreciate what you have. I’m 47 years old and have been a Dodgers fan since 1977 when I was 6 years old and was raised by my mother and father whom are both Giants Fans.

  13. So many alleged Dodger fans quick to spend OPM. But if it were their cash what would the story line be. I have been a Dodger fan since 1940- that’s 78 plus years. There have been many ups and downs over the years but to be in the greater NYC area in 1955 was an outstanding delight. Hopefully Pollock was not a mistake but I am not sure. Let’s hope no more mistakes. Joe Kelly should be a major upgrade in the bullpen and if the starters stay well and consistent we should be around late into October. A 200 million payroll seems much higher than most teams. Nice to see old friend Russ Martin back. It was a mistake to get rid of him as it was to unload Beltre and many years earlier Roberto Clemente. Mistakes are made but most only realized in hindsight. My Thoughts

  14. No offense, but if you are leading the league in attendance, then you can spend a little more, we are not a small market team, if you think because are season ticket sales ARE strong because of what you are doing, well…. , spend some of That money and bring us a championship!! I LOVE THIS TEAM!! PS. FIX THE TELEVISION PROBLEM!

  15. I think Kasten is an arrogant jerk who either is out of touch with fans but more probably doesn’t really care. I called the Dodgers administrative offices today and talked to a pleasant employee and I politely informed her how much I disagree with his comments. You can do the same by calling 866-DODGERS, Ext. 9. Be nice and give your real name.

    I love the back and forth among fans on these threads, and while I am not of the opinion that this has been a genius off season for the front office, it’s true this looks to be a good team at this point, though not one that really can be expected to win a World Series against super teams like the Astros, Red Sox and Yankees.

    But we only will know once they play the games.

    One thing I do expect from Kasten, Friedman and others who run the team is a sense of respect for the people who pay their salaries by paying the ever-rising prices for tickets, parking and some of the worst stadium food in America. Kasten and Friedman are too often dismissive and condescending, in my view.

    The Dodgers enter the season with a lot of questions and how they are answered will determine if they make it to another World
    Series or fall out of the playoffs. Among them: can Kershaw return to form, or is he in decline? Can Jansen once again be the best closer in baseball? Is Muncy a one-year wonder? Can the team really get much offensive production from the catching position? Do the Dodgers get the Joe Kelly who was brilliant in the post season or the one who had an ERA over 8 in September? Can Bellinger hit LHP? Can anyone else hit LHP? How well has Seager recovered from surgery? Can Pollock stay upright for an entire season?

    You get the idea.

    • D.C. You can add one more important thing and that is that with DS been an alleged pitcher friendly park, can the starters and relievers do a better job of keeping the baseball in the yard themselves?

  16. Kirsten is very disingenuous with his answers to spending on free agents. I have been a fan since 63. The Dodgers lead the league in attendance most of those years. I take umbridge to his mom committal answers to the free agent spending. He is evading the topic with a point of fact that has nothing to do with his unwillingness to go out and get a top free agent!

  17. I’m so unhappy, I have been a Dodgers fan for 45+ years, and when you had 100 plus homers just sitting on the bench, and you don’t win at least one world series since ’88, well that tells you something. It certainly seems to me that some Blue fans are happy with second place, in my opinion your entitled to your own opinion, but when you trade Puig, Kemp, a pitcher that you don’t know what he will do from game to game, but certainly could of come out of the pen. That really says to, Scott Boras, and Bryce Harper, and the loyal fans of this great organization. That Bryce we want you to be are right fielder? I think every Dodger fan with half a brain, that would certainly give you the indication Harper would be signed? Now I’m ok with trading kemp, but you have to wonder why they did not make that trade, for Cluber, or Reamuto, I would understand, but to give up a great right fielder like Puig and end up with really nothing, truly sucks, and shows you it’s all about money. Any sport their is always a little luck involved, and for those fans that say we should of not won in 2017 does not know baseball, we should of won that series, and Boston, well we were out classed. Kasten should not be with this team he runs this team with an ’80 1990’s mindset, we need young blood? Boston did not care about the lecture tax, that is why they won, it is incredible that all some people care about is leading the league in attendance, you know who you are. I want Harper, Kluber, (although that might be too late) and Realmuto, then we with out a doubt will be the best team in the west, with a great chance to win the west as well as the World Series, I have one more question WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY WAITING FOR??

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