The Nats Will Miss Stan Kasten
Yesterday’s announcement of Nationals minority owner and President Stan Kasten stepping down has left me a little troubled. On one hand I’m not surprised, as there have been rumors of the Kasten-Lerner-Bowden power struggle leading up until the time when they got rid of him before last season. And even with a more professional G.M. at the helm, it still seemed as though the Lerner’s and Kasten weren’t on the same page with spending. So while I’m not exactly shocked that Kasten would be looking to find better opportunities, I am saddened.
The Nationals are coming to a crossroads (though their record might not indicate it), in where they are actually fielding a roster with quality major league talent, as well as an improving farm system. While I still believe that Washington is a few years away, their timetable for success will be greatly influenced by what happens in the next year. For me now is not the time for the Nationals to lose their steward.
I am a big fan of G.M. Mike Rizzo, but I’m sure he could use the help, especially when it comes to trying to get the Lerner’s to open up their checkbook this offseason. I also believe that team’s need multiple leaders as a sort of checks and balances system. And while I’m a fan of Rizzo’s overall, I do think he made a misstep this season by not dealing slugger Adam Dunn at the trade deadline. Now Dunn might leave this offseason with the Nationals only getting draft picks in return. This means the Nationals will not only need to open their wallets to sign Dunn or his replacement, but this is a team that could use an upgrade in the outfield and starting rotation as well.
Now is the time for Kasten to implement the final stages of his “plan” and get the Nationals out of the cellar of the National League East. The Nationals will have to continue on the right track without him, towards their goal of being a sustainable contender. Right now I wonder if the owners will give Rizzo the tools ($$$) needed to reach this goal. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve alsway liked Kasten and believe the Nationals road to respectability got a little rougher yesterday. Right now it may not be realized, but I think the Nationals will regret Kasten’s departure, hopefully it doesn’t hold them back too much and they can still contend in the next 2-4 years.