Former Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten is reportedly part of an ownership group with former NBA legend Magic Johnson that will attempt to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from embattled owner Frank McCourt, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Stan Kasten is my man,” Magic told the LA Times. “He’s a winner, he’s built two incredible organizations, and he’s well respected. That is what was important to me. I had to get with a winner, a guy who understands baseball inside and out.”
You’ll remember that Kasten left the Nationals on somewhat surprising terms following the 2010 season. While he had apparently told the Lerner’s at the start of the year that he would be leaving the club following their sixth campaign, no one felt the need to tell us until he was gone. The man who was tapped by the Lerner’s to be the architect of baseball in Washington had made the decision to leave just when things started to look good.
In 2010, Kasten helped bring excitement back to Washington when he and Mike Rizzo were able to sign Stephen Strasburg to a last second record contract. He also played an influential role in helping the Nationals secure funding and a location for Nats Park, which opened in 2008, and some believe that his inclusion as one of the owners along with the Lerner’s helped convince Commissioner Bud Selig to allow the Expos to be relocated to Washington. His time with the Nationals was certainly frustrating, at times overwhelmingly so, but when you look back at his work on a whole you have to admit, the franchise is in good shape based on the groundwork he laid several years ago.
This news is encouraging for baseball, but perhaps a scary prospect for anyone who is a fan of a team that plays in the National League. Kasten proved in Atlanta what he can do with a team that has a solid talent foundation, something Washington didn’t have, and an owner that is willing to spend money right away. The Dodgers have a fan base, a huge city craving a winner, and they have arguably the best starting pitcher and position player in the National League in Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. If he gets smart baseball people around him, the Dodgers could have the front office leadership to create a dynasty.