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Dodgers: Stan Kasten Talks Pursuit of Star Free Agents in Recent Seasons

“I like stars too … it’s cool, it’s fun, it’s fun for the team, it’s fun for the fans.”



Without question, the Los Angeles Dodgers have struck out in regards to making a splash move this winter. While everyone has been patient in waiting for the big move to happen, ownership has remained mostly silent.

The last time we heard from part owner Stan Kasten, he said the playoff losses hurt worse for him then it did the fan base.

Now Kasten is talking with the LA Times in regards to the Dodgers’ pursuits of star players. It’s a great read that you can access at the full length below. Within it, Kasten hones in on what it was like to negotiate with Scott Boras and Gerrit Cole.

Notably, Kasten says that he likes star players too. However, he wants to win year in and year out. The brand that creates is more important in his eyes then just getting star players.

“There are guys that we think could be difference makers and we have pursued them, we are continuing to pursue them, when there is an opportunity we will certainly jump at it,” he said. “I like stars too … it’s cool, it’s fun, it’s fun for the team, it’s fun for the fans. But what’s most important is winning. And for the Dodgers, it’s winning year in and year out; that’s what I’m trying to build.”

It seems while reading this initially, I realized that the two things are not mutually exclusive. Kasten seems to state it in a way that he would almost rather prove you can win without star players.

Reading the quote a second time, Kasten should have went towards the elephant in the room. Indeed, he should have just said ‘the goal is to win a championship at all costs’. However, that’s not what he said. The Dodgers have been winning year in and year out, and people still aren’t fully satisfied.

Next, Kasten comes off a little bit snarky in a way. In fact, he says ‘we all’ were fixated on getting Bryce Harper. Truthfully, I think many of us realize Harper has his warts. Still, people are so starved for a title; they’re just willing to settle for anyone that can get the team closer to winning it all.

“There are a lot of players who went to the World Series, weren’t successful, until the one time they finally were, it’s not a thing you can predict very easily. Last year you were all fixated on us getting Bryce Harper. … Not one of you were screaming, ‘You’ve got to re-sign Daniel Hudson’ [Washington’s postseason closer]. Two years ago, not one of you were saying, ‘You have to go out and make a trade for Steve Pearce’ [2017 World Series most valuable player with Boston]. I’m sorry, I just don’t agree with your thesis.”

Clearly Kasten has a ways to go to understand the emotion of his fan base. The thesis he disagrees with is that Los Angeles needs a star player to get over the top. He says the notion that the city is championship starved does not exist.

Finally, Stan Kasten has gone full heel.

NEXT: A New Year’s Resolution for the Dodgers

Written by Staff Writer

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  1. I don’t see where he says the city is not starved for a championship. I think he completely understands that. He just disagrees on what you need to obtain said championship.

    • I was going to say the same thing but the trouble with Kasten is every time he opens his mouth he comes off as defensive and unsympathetic to fan frustration. Many fans are frustrated and he needs to acknowledge it, say he shares it, and move on.

      • ““The L.A. Times’ characterization that everyone hates us has always been childish, superficial and wrong,” Kasten said of his ownership group…Why it seems to be such a flashpoint here befuddles me”

        Why it befuddles you “Stan,” is because.” you don’t have a plan, man…” You are just like the GM of the Atlanta Hawks who got just enough talent to be competitive year end and year out but not WIN IT ALL … Oh wait, you were that GM!! You do what you’ve done because you got what you wanted. A bice team that never wins. You didn’t answer any of Plascke’s question because that would have required you to have a PUBLISHED plan which is the last thing you want to do. Yeah you may rent a few players at the deadline, mpostly guys going FA so your commitment to them is small. You got burned a little by Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner who have not done as well in the end of their contracts as they did at the first. which messed up your plans for a bunch of cheap rentals because they are still playing. Again, it all comes down that the only plan your and Guggenhiem have is a business plan… NOT A WINNING PLAN other wise with the resources you’ve had you would have already one a a couple series’ by now.

        You’re only plan is based on that famous line from Field of Dreams, “people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come…” So as long as the Dodger faithful are dumb enough to not see that money all you boys want, they will keep coming and you will keep disappointing them irregardless of all your befuddlement or lack of understanding, which is probably the biggest lie of all!

  2. Said it before and will say it again, Kasten should not be the face of ownership group. He comes off as uncaring and dismissive

    • Tim, I mentioned this before but part of this current issue could very well be that those ‘star’ type players do not see the Dodgers as a viable team to gravitate to and the way Freidman and Roberts run things and their ‘mind set’ may have something to do with it. If you are a star player would you agree to time sharing with others based upon the hand the opposing pitcher throws with? And another thing is the constant position shuffling around that has to be contributing in some way to the offense being somewhat inconsistent.

      • Paul, you have said this many times but I don’t think it a factor. Players will go where ever they get the most money with very few exceptions. We collectively hammer at team owners for not spending enough and then give players a pass for demanding more money than they can spend in 4 lifetimes while knowing that they’re crippling their team’s ability to field a competitive roster because of it. They’re aware of the CBT just like the owners. Suggesting that players go to a team or consider what’s best for winning a championship is giving them more credit than their actions deserve.

        • Think about what you’re saying though. The CBT is an invention by the owners. The owners invented the CBT and now you’re saying the players must take less because of the CBT and how it cripples teams from making moves. This is EXACTLY what the owners wanted when they implemented the CBT. Baseball never had a salary cap. The owners got the players to agree to the CBT because the players wouldn’t agree to a salary cap. Teams are now treating the CBT like a salary cap on spending and fans like you are looking at players to take less due to the CBT.

          But you mustn’t forget that the CBT was invented by the owners to create this exact situation where players force themselves to take less “for the good of the team.”

          • Lets make the CBT really fair. The players by their Union agreement get 50% of the total dollars for salaries. The CBT was designed to keep some owners fro sabotaging the whole thing by spending more than that.

            Here’s a novel idea. The League collects it 50% from the owners and lets let the fans decides who gets what. Hanger-on stars who best days are behind them and whose talents have declined would most likely get less than an up and comer in his prime who is at the top of his game. But lets say Gerritt Cole and Anthony Rendon suck this next year. They would lose salary while players who actually starred for the teams would gain salary. Make it a true performance based system so players are always putting out for top dollar and not taking games off or even parts of season off for unneeded surgery or surgery that could wait. This way, the only person the players can blame if them selves. No one could make more than 50% of his salary in year and no one would lose more than 30% in a year, but over a course of years, the money would go to the players that deserve it and not the ones who don’t. This would stabilize baseball and allow for all team large or small market to compete. The only people who would not like this would be the agents but what have they done to make the game better? Nothing. They are like the cockroaches who come in after the devastation and clean up so they can survive, not the source (Team and fans) survive. And the determination by the fans could be as simple as a vote based on the past years statistics for which the team would have some imput.

            Would be fun to watch but it makes too much sense so it will never happen!

          • The CBT was collectively bargained by both owners and players union. Its purpose, theoretically, is to allow small market teams to compete which is required for the sport. I don’t know if it’s the best system but it’s in place and both parties know it.
            My point is this: players are aware of it and still demand 15 – 20% of allowable roster spend that is so massive their great-great-great grandchildren will be living off it. They don’t care that, with their demands, it’s nearly impossible to field a championship roster with what’s left. Case in point is Strasberg. After earning $100M and due another $100M, he opted out for yet another $100M ensuring the team couldn’t sign Rendon who was looking for his own $300M. You can’t fault the team for not signing both even though without both their chances of winning are greatly diminished.

        • Spot on Bum! Also, if you are truly a star player it wouldnt matter which hand the pitcher throws with because a star player would be able to hit both. Take Turner, Seager, Bellinger for example. In the postseason these guys play no matter who’s pitching. Whether they perform or not is a different story, but obviously the Dodgers think they are star players.

          • Muncy Turner and Buehler are the only post season clutch players on the team.

          • Yes they play against whoever is pitching in the playoffs… very poorly. except Turner

          • True about star players who can hit both RHP and LHP reasonably well with no real noticeable poor splits. Only a few Dodger players as you mentioned fall into that category. Now I have been told that all teams do this daily but I don’t believe that simply because all ya have to do is see how Roberts and Co. change the lineups considerably every time a LHP goes against them. I can only see as match ups and if the team was better at competing against both hands of a pitcher there would not be the lineup changes and positions changes that occur with Dodgers.

        • It could be a factor, but correct on most players will go where the most money is at. A couple of off seasons ago, and I don’t know how credible this actually is, but Harold Reynolds of MLBN interviewed some players on the trade blocks at that time and a couple of FA’s and according to Reynolds they all told him they were a bit against coming to the Dodgers out of fear of them being made into platoon type players based upon the hand the pitcher throws with. Again IDK how true this is but I could understand some players, who are starters being concerned about this.

      • PDF,

        I agree with you. There is a reason the big FA’s have stayed away from LA for even longer than the current management has been in place. It’s the team “culture”. It’s knowing as a pitcher you are going to be pulled after about 100 pitches ni matter what. Complete game, shut out, whatever. Those are the individual goals athletes strive for. Reaching those goals boosts the entire team if the know the guy on the mound won’t quit, that doing just enough isn’t enough. Take those things away and you might as well pass around orange slices and SunnyD at the 7th inning stretch. The current management culture seems to diminish the individual completely.

        Position players see exactly the same use case…pure stats to determine who needs to be playing. So a guy went 4-for-4 with two HR a double & a triple driving in 12 but bring in a lefty and that player gets yanked for a guy who hits lefties 5 percentage points better ni matter if he’s struck out the last 20x he faced a lefty with runners in scoring position. The metrics show he is clearly the “better” choice so hot guy gets yanked. Why try and earn your position on the team and achieve beyond expectations…the number rule.

        This is the inherent flaw in the current management culture. Individuals improvement is NOT rewarded and players feel they need not even try to improve whatever metric because they will still be yanked if the metrics say it’s “smart”. This is not knocking metrics, they have been part of baseball forever just today they have more sophisticated metrics.

        Today’s team is manages like the Landry era Dallas Cowboys… robotic with no soul or individual achievement…basically dull as heck to fans and players.

        If you never put star players in a position to not only succeed but improve when a thing is hard and it’s success or go home, they never will be that guy. Athletes thrive on overcoming their weaknesses when the odds are against them…that is the definition of CLUTCH. And yes the individual might fail but he has learned enough that next time he’ll be up to the challenge.

        I don’t want to watch the Landry Cowboys of baseball and stars have zero desire to have that special part of them taken away. Yes team success is the ultimate goal but the individual has to be given the chance to deliver. It’s where the fun is.

        Sorry for that rant but I’m just fed up with a MLB team being managed like and “everybody gets a ribbon” event. No excitement… i mean missionary works but vanilla is not the way to have real fun.

        • “Today’s team is manages like the Landry era Dallas Cowboys… robotic with no soul or individual achievement…basically dull as heck to fans and players…” Except with one difference. The Cowboys always had the resources to win and win they did.

          In Landry’s 29 seasons at the helm, the Pokes had 20 winning seasons. They also won Two Superbowls. In the 34 years since the Kirk Gibson led Dodgers won the last World Series, (1988) they have had mostly winning records WITH NO WS WINS. I would say Landry was twice as successful as the Dodgers. They key phrase is . “The Cowboys always had the resources to win and win they did.” With a little more effort and caring for the fan perspective, the Dodgers should have won at least 2 WS. The problem is, the team was not manufactured to win a Worlds Series, just to get to the playoffs and we might as well understand that under the current ownership as stated by Kasten, that is all we can expect in the future.

          • Well said, because most fans here would probably agree that this current roster is not enough to go deep in October. All one has to do is see how the Nats won the WS..with top notch starting pitching. Yes, the Nats came up clutch with the offense when needed but with grat pitching in October, a team will usually win with scoring enough runs to better their opponent. OH and BTW any team would have a much better chance at succeeding in October if the offense does not strike out 64 times in 5 games like Dodgers did in the NLDS.

  3. Stan Kasten is the devil. He’s about dollar signs. He and idiot Friedman have been here in LA for what six years, well I’ve been here for Fifty and I do care about the Dodgers winning a championship. Those two idiots only care about making money and not winning. And don’t give me the Six division titles. Any decent team could do that in this division. If they don’t make a deal to improve this team before spring training will prey that everything falls apart for this season. As long as These two idiots run the show here in LA we will never win the big one. Kasten and his ego must go. And his idiot disciple.

    • I too am rooting for utter failure this season because they deserve it. They deserve to make little money and they deserve to see the stadium a ghost town after all the renovations they spent money on but not the team

      • Obviously, you should rethink what you just said, Don. Whether you agree with ownership or not, a true Dodger fan wants the team to win. First, last, always. And, no, I do not agree with Kasten 100%. We should have tried harder for Cole (or Ryu). We did not need Rendon. He didn’t want to come anyway. We should still be looking for a solid reliever. But that being said; Rendon had his career year. Strasburg had his career year (virtually same as 17). Soto had a great year. Hudson had his reliever career year. And so on. That is why they won. And also why we may be fortunate with Strasburg and Rendon. Madbum. HAD his days. We need to trust the system. WE WILL HAVE OUR DAY. O’Malley never won the series till 55. His 6th season as GM. But the Dodgers were in the hunt every year. Getting to the playoffs is the key. Stay the course. Don’t sell the farm. Keep grinding. Don’t stop.

        • Yeah, that’s kind of weird to root for the Dodgers to spite management.

          What would happen if we make a run to the World Series? Will these fans be actively rooting against the Dodgers? Will they be celebrating when we lose in the World Series, giving each other high fives?

          “Yeah, take that Friedman and Kasten!”

          • We won’t have to worry about the World Series because they’ll be out in the first or second round

          • We don’t spite management! They spite themselves by selling potential free agents and/or trade partners short by presenting the potential trade or signing
            as more we win you lose than win-win. You need to give value to get value and it seems that they can’t complete the deal as “let’s try to satisfy each others’ needs.
            We shouldn’t always blame management when the opposition wants to win at
            our team’s expense. Working with Free Agency is too difficult when the player’s demands in amounts of money and longevity of contract demands are absurd.
            Bottom line the “art” of the deal is difficult not easy!!

  4. “I’m not going to discuss the TV deal with you,” Kasten said. “I’m sorry … I’m not going to do it.”

    Of course not because you’ve got nothing to justify it. If you cared you’d give up on it and put them back on Fox Sports West but it was all about the money and if no providers wanted to add it then so be it, right?

    • Spot on! Manny! The amazing thing to me anyway, and I told DTV this that they are a nation wide provider and the Dodgers have a following all throughout the U.S. But they fear having to charge every customer more even if they have no baseball interest. To me there IS a way around that. How about making the SNLA a la carte, like they do with premium packages one does not have to buy if they don’t want to and other sports packages in which the customer can CHOOSE whether or not to buy that package.

  5. Kasten reminds me of Walter White! He’s selling the ” blue” posing as a teacher and respectable like he cares, but is really arrogant about how his product is sold! At the expense of everyone that cares he is a fraud!! You guys notice how Kasten is trying to save face ? Then the next article following him, there’s the boogie man Bora’s, who’s the bad guy, then the next article following those 2 is ” tickets on sale at Ca!Mel back Ranch!” So Kasten the Saint, Boris the boogie man, and ” step right up folks, come see the prospects” The irony of the articles today ,IS the entire show!!!!

  6. Maybe it’s just me but I just find it hard to believe this man. He comes off as condescending, overly defensive and arrogant all in the same sentence. Replace “Dodgers” with congress and you could be listening to congressperson trying to explain why he’s done nothing and should be re-elected for it.

    • Right on CB. But he knows he’s safe and gets to carry on with his racket! Just like Congress!

  7. Let us not forget Kasten comes from the aristocracy of Ted turner, Hanoi Jane and Turner Broadcast network! His T.V. deal is nothing new for him.His former employees had the biggest TV racket in sports history!

  8. After last year’s early playoff exit , Steinbrenner says to his people to do whatever it takes to win the world series .
    After last year’s early playoff exit , Kasten makes excuses why Dodgers haven’t won a world series in 30+ years and how they’re good just the way they are .

    As an LA fan I’m just saying ….very frustrating and boring to hear same ol same ol .

    • Boss I’m with you man! I feel this Dodgers org is entitled with the guaranteed revenue! These FO guys don’t have to bring championships, no pressure. Plus it appears to me they’ re trying to rid the fan base of the baby boomers and Gen X clientele. Their progressive money ball idealism approach that most of us despise is being carried on with even though its a proven failure. But progressives don’t view winning championships as important as the purist loyalists do, heritage isn’t important, its just what’s in! Progressives, hipsters, modern liberal idealism has infiltrated our FO. The Imperialist attitude Kasten exemplifies is common for Rich arrogant individual gain. I agree with you that the Lakers and the Buss family are such a breath of fresh air, where its ALL about Heritage! Pride! Winning Championships! They are never satisfied with how good their roster is! They PAY the top tier players to come there and be apart of something special! The Dodgers on the other hand are the polar opposite! Go Lakers!!!!!

  9. Bet its depressing to see the words that confirm that this organization doesnt aspire to be champion. Why would they right? Other organizations do it because they want to make money selling tickets, memorabilia, gear etc. This organization doesnt have too, thats why they dont care about the fanbase, a fanbase that will continue to buy. Lets do our selves a favor and dont buy any post season gear, just reminders of being loosers. Hope the real champs of Los Angeles get #17. Go Lakers!! This organization did something to make us proud to be a fan again, witch is what its all about…. right?

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