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Kasten to Meet With Bowden, Is Mum on Plans

 

By Barry Svrluga

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, May 12, 2006; Page E12

 

CINCINNATI, May 11 -- Stan Kasten was on the highway Thursday morning, sitting in the back seat of a car driven by his wife, Helen. They were headed to a graduation ceremony for a relative.

 

"I'm working back here," Kasten said by phone. "I think this is the first time we've done it this way -- her driving, me working in the back seat."

 

Kasten won't officially take over as the Washington Nationals' president until Major League Baseball's owners vote to approve the sale of the team to the family of Bethesda-based real estate developer Theodore N. Lerner, a vote that will take place next week. In the meantime, Kasten said he is furiously preparing for his new job. Both he and Lerner's son, Mark, will meet the Nationals on Friday in Atlanta, where the team will be starting a three-game series.

 

"I'm working on planning and thinking through functions and the front office and all kinds of things," Kasten said. "I have a guide that I'll bring in when we start, and I will have things to say following the owners' approval. Within a week thereafter, I hope to be able to talk a little more about some plans. We have been doing things both at [RFK Stadium] and downtown."

 

Kasten declined to be specific about any announcements he might be making over the next few weeks. But Kasten will meet this weekend with General Manager Jim Bowden, an employee of MLB, which currently owns the team. Bowden would like to remain in his job when the new ownership group takes over. Though Bowden made genuine inroads with the Lerner family over the course of the sale process, and at least some members of the group would like to keep him, Kasten won't comment on the future of any member of the front office.

 

"I'm spending a lot of time on front-office planning and making decisions," Kasten said. "But this is going to be my first time to really talk about baseball and spend some time speaking about the team with Jim."

 

Kasten's stated philosophy is that the Nationals must build a strong farm system, and this year's team could provide an opportunity to do so. The team entered Thursday night's game here against the Reds at 10 games under .500, so it's possible the club could look to unload veterans such as right-hander Livan Hernandez and outfielders Alfonso Soriano and Jose Guillen before the July 31 trade deadline -- particularly if the Nationals could get prospects in return.

Bowden reiterated this week that he agrees with Kasten's philosophy of building for the long term.

 

"I like Stan," Bowden said. "He's a smart, smart guy. And just look at his track record."

 

Kasten, who served as president of the Braves for 17 years, will show off part of his track record this weekend. Kasten's plans Friday include giving Mark Lerner a tour of both Turner Field, home of the Braves, and Philips Arena, home to both the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, two facilities Kasten helped develop. The younger Lerner has spent considerable time touring ballparks across the country to get ideas on the District's new park, for which ground was broken last week. But Kasten said Lerner hadn't yet been to Turner Field.

 

"I think it's the ultimate stadium in terms of how it reaches out to customers," Kasten said.

 

That, he said, will be one of his first priorities after he and the Lerners take over. But even as he waits for the official right to implement his plans, Kasten said his work pace is frenetic.

 

"It's not just coming in and taking a job where everything is in place," Kasten said. "This is a new ownership and really a whole new regime. We'll be going from an interim stewardship of MLB to a group that's a lot more proactive."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...6051101838.html

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I'd rather let the young kids develop, since Hernandez is expensive and wouldnt make a difference in the standings.

 

As for Soriano, he is probably the worst defensive 2B in MLB, and once again...too expensive.

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Probably for the best. Their minor league system had been damaged beyond repair. It will take them a half decade to get it ready to support a contender. They also lack the players to compliment a push to win a World Series with free agents. Any lossin fanintrest would come back as the new park is built.

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Bowden has no one to blame but himself.

 

 

I wouldn't blame Bowden that they are in a tough division. They don't have enough pitching.

 

Vidro, Johnson, Soriano, Zimmerman, Guillen.....they have a great lineup (talent is there).

 

The players just haven't put it together.

 

I stil like livan, eats up the innings

 

 

Used up now...

 

Looks like a completely different pitcher. Gives up too many hits, threatens to retire....I wouldn't trade any prospects for this guy. Maybe a B level prospect.

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Bowden has no one to blame but himself.

 

 

I wouldn't blame Bowden that they are in a tough division. They don't have enough pitching.

 

Vidro, Johnson, Soriano, Zimmerman, Guillen.....they have a great lineup (talent is there).

 

The players just haven't put it together.

For that offense to be playoff calibar, they need a leadoff hitter and cleanup hitter. Two of the hardest offensive positions to fill. And even harder to be found at C, SS or CF.

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