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Dodgers: Stan Kasten Talks Off-Season Needs, Being Labeled as Cheap

Kasten believes the team can improve in all facets.

The Dodgers are coming off a disappointing postseason that saw their bullpen implode and their bats disappear. It was their first time not advancing past the NLDS since 2015, and it was especially disappointing as it came after a regular season in which the club achieved a franchise record in wins.

Many fans and some analysts have pointed to the Dodgers’ lack of risk-taking when it comes to signing free agents and making trades as a reason for the team’s now-infamous October blues. They feel that the Dodgers have played it too safe on the market, and as a result, are not getting over the hump to capture that elusive World Series title.

This has given the Dodgers a reputation of being cheap, a term which Kasten took offense to when discussing the off-season on MLB Network Radio on Sunday.

“What is this Jedi mind-trick (Friedman) has with you in the media?” Kasten said. “We’ve led baseball in payroll for his five years in Los Angeles, and all of you insist ‘the guy is cheap and never spends any money.’ This really annoys the heck out of me.”

Kasten points out that the Dodgers have been spending money, in fact for the past few years they have spent what he estimated to be around $20 million above the MLB Competitive Balance Tax, just in ways that he calls “tax-advantaged.” Kasten estimated his team’s payroll to be around the $200 million mark.

“You can criticize our moves, you can criticize our judgement. That’s all fair,” Kasten said. “But when teams with $60 and $80 million payrolls like Tampa and Oakland make the postseason, I don’t think you can criticize us if we’re around $200 million.”

In regards to areas of concern for the Dodgers, Kasten believes that they can always be looking to improve in all areas of the game. Going into winter meetings, Kasten maintained that the club will focus on deals that will not only make the Dodgers better but keep them better in future years.

“Just winning the off-season — winning the winter meetings — that’s not a factor,” he said. “Making the team better is a factor. Making it better in a way that keeps us better for the long haul with all the many considerations that go into that kind of judgment, that’s what we focus on. That’s what we will focus on all this week, and all the rest of the winter.”

It seems Kasten is taking the defensive route again in the tonality of his response. Last winter when an unfavorable (but fair) article was published by the LA Times about the team’s perception of not spending money, the team president clapped back at the media before hiding behind the forever memorable “real inside-baseball economic stuff” quote when asked for elaboration.

Yes, the Dodgers are spending money when it comes down the bottom line — or what their final payroll totals say after the season. However, the question can be asked: is it the right money? In each season since Friedman has come on board with Los Angeles, team spending has been at or near the top of the league — as Kasten says — but a large portion of that cash is being spent on players no longer on the team.

In 2019 alone, the club spent over $40M alone on Homer Bailey ($23M; released after Yasiel Puig/Reds trade), Matt Kemp x2 ($7M to CIN, $3.5M to SD), Hector Olivera ($4.6M; traded to ATL in 2015) and Yaisel Sierra ($5M; the only player still technically in the organization) — or more simply said, players not on the 40-man roster.

What Jedi mind-tricks are you trying to play, Stan?

NEXT: Every Friedman Era Off-Season Acquisition

Written by Andres Soto

18 Comments

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  1. So Stan Kasten meal Miele mouths around…well we’re looking to get better….blah blah blah…
    This Winter the players are out there that can obviously help…
    And they won’t cost you and arm and a leg….payroll wise…
    Develop a little…KILLER INSTINCT…
    Go get them…

  2. Kasten you are right. It is a problem that Oakland and Tampa have a low payroll and make the playoffs and The Dodgers with the highest attendance figures And have a 200 million payroll and can’t win a World Series. So the problem is either the Manager or Gm or you Cheapo Kasten.

    • Nailed it Alfredo. The A’s with their MONEYBALL and 0 World series wins in what 31 years? the Rays who made the playoff’s! With 0 World series wins. Repeat MADE THE PLAYOFF’s. This is all Kasten worries about. The A’s and Rays draw what? 2 million fans a year? For them to MAKE The Playoff’s is the prize. And apparently that’s the only prize for Kasten as well.

  3. Soto
    You’re just feeding chum to a bunch of sharks. Just like Alfredo, you’ll get nothing but agreement from a bunch of crazed Boomers that don’t understand what this FO provides for you spoiled fans every year. Because the FO is a successful business, some how they are obligated to spend money on whatever the fans demand? As a Dodger fan you get a team that’ll win the division and close to a 100 wins every year. You guys are like a child on Christmas that get’s her pony that she’s always wanted, then throws it in the back yard and asks “What else did you get me?” Jedi mind tricks
    Come on man!

      • Dude,
        You’re starting to creep me out. Your on all my posts talking gibberish. I did apologize for hitting a sensitive button with the Boomer name calling. It’s getting weird.

        • I’m not even a boomer your posts are just trash lmao your pea brain actually thinks you are insulting people by saying the name of their generation.

          • Yet you still continue to reply. If it doesn’t apply to you why are you continuing? Makes it even creepier. Again I apologized for upsetting you and you continue to stalk. I don’t want to be your friend. Go back to the full page of upset people at Friedman, plenty of people there that will love to chat. Best of luck

  4. We don’t want a pony. We want a WS title. I promise I won’t ask for anything more if we get it. And I think Santa Cole could deliver that gift next year!

  5. Here’s a Jedi mind trick. Read the next sentence.
    . If you couldn’t read it you are not tuned in to the Force. If you could, May the Force be with you, and go ahead and call the number.

  6. That’s the thing Stan, you guys aren’t spending on the players you should be. You need to demand Friedman go get the guys that fulfill our needs. You stated we need a starter a reliever and a bat. That’s all out there for us so go do it if you’re really bothered by the narrative

  7. I guess the Only positive thing with all of this is Stan now Knows that this Fanbase demands a winner, and if he can’t deliver we’ll run his rear end out of town. How do we do that? Quit buying 20 dollar Beers, 15 dollar Hot dogs, 50 dollar parking and 100 dollar tickets. Not to mention 150 dollar hoodies! 30 dollar ball caps….Pretty simple…….

    • Good day Kirk. I am doing my part by living about 850+ miles away so they ain’t going to get my money. But if Stan is angry for whatever reason, just go ahead and re-watch how Roberts and Co. sabotaged game 5 in the 2019 NLDS then review those 64 K’s by the offense in 5 games, and review how in every October, the Dodgers fall by the waist side against the better pitching in October.

      • Hey Paul, I know man. They are not a run producing offense designed to win games unless it’s a home run. I was a College pitcher myself and it’s pretty easy to thwart a Fast ball only hitting lineup by throwing sliders away and in the dirt and fast balls up stairs with 2 strikes and behind in the count. The dodgers are the worst slow off speed junk hitting team I’ve seen, but for God’s sakes don’t throw them fastballs. Their inability to manufacture a run when necessary is pathetic to watch. They will lead off with a double, won’t bunt him to third, won’t hit and run, won’t do any squeeze plays. That’s what I see with their analytic modern asinine hitting philosophy. The name of the game is TOTAL bases, and the Dodgers in October are the worst annualy. It’s true what you say about the Better pitching in October.The last 2 World series failures we were out pitched because the arrogance of friedman thinking Kersh was still a #1 and Rich Hill was in the rotation? Kenley was hammered like a Nail and he wouldn’t change his roll. On and on..Bottom line is, the players on this lineup as constructed fail in Oct. You would think someone of Friedman’s position would have a stat for players that perform Big in the biggest moments? How about pitchers that get hammered in the 1st inning like Kersh? How about Baez throwing 2 pitches? How about a pitching coach that could see his own pitcher tipping pitches instead of every other team? So we all see these glaring problems, but Stan Kasten and friedman sit there and spew out that they think this team as constructed ( By Them) believe they can win a championship. While the Nationals see signing and paying BIG bucks for a proven big game pitcher. The Nats must have a analytics dept that has stats on these types of players.

  8. Kasten was forged in the crucible of Atlanta and all those division titles. At least the Braves did actually win one WS in 15 years. It will be interesting to see how many division titles the Dodgers string together w/o winning the big one before his tune changes, if ever.

  9. But we can criticize, when everyone and their grandmother has known for 3 years the bullpen has been iffy at best and money was needed to bolster it. I totally get his point on Oakland and TB, but they also have not won titles, so the comparison only goes so far. One is left with the opinion they are willing to spend enough to be competitive in the division and keep fans interested, but not enough to be all in.

  10. Saw a couple of Stan Kasten’s interviews at Winter Meetings today. To summarize he said, “Blah, blah, blah, blah.”
    To be fair though there really isn’t much he can say, but he always sounds so condescending, even when he isn’t saying anything! Obviously a very smart and successful man, but he really shouldn’t be a public mouth piece for the Dodgers.

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