Thursday, September 20, 2007

StanSpeak, A Continuing Series

Our good buddy Stan Kasten was back with a vengeance yesterday, filling the mouths of our favorite reporters with rubbery meats and their ears with hot, moist air. As always, when Stanley talks, we've gotta run it through the ol' StanSpeak Translator to figure out what the hell it is the guy is actually saying. A sampling:

On how to improve the team next year:
We know we need to acquire talented players unlike the stiffs like Fick and Hanrahan who pollute our roster. There's no mistake about that. We want to add low-salaried players to this team next year. I don't know how we do it because the Union won't let them work for in-kind donations. Perhaps [HAHA] it's free agency, but more likely, I think, it would be, hypothetically speaking, of course, through trades, either with veterans on the major league level (don't forget that we actually got people to take Royce Clayton and Vinny Castilla -- suckers!) or with prospects [Should I do the scare quotes with my fingers?]. We are not averse to trading prospects. If only we had some with upside outside of A ball. I wonder if we can fool someone into thinking that Mike Hinckley is still a prospect?

On what they achieved this year:
Our goal this year wasn't so much about standings, but about scaling back payroll, putting a pseudo-competitive team on the field, paying down debt and making a healthy profit, but also what can we do to build a champion, which we did in the Dominican, my second ring!!!!1!

On whether they're happy with progress:
Do not for a minute think I'm happy with where we are. This room is a dump. We have very far yet to go and much more money to drain from our fan's pockets. We absolutely do. We recognize that more than anyone.

On the future of the General Manager:
The general manager is here, period, because he's kissed the ass of my owner enough that I can't touch him.

On pursuing Free Agents this offseason:
We'll be talking to everyone, cordial chit-chat mostly. That I can promise you. But I don't think going after the big free agents is a way to build this team or to make me money. ... There are a top tier that will be overpaid because of their cunning agents, I imagine. For that reason, I wouldn't be interested in those players. There are a second tier of players. They also will be overpaid, but I wouldn't be interested in those because they are second-tier players, even though I've got third-tier players on my fourth-rate team.


  • This guy has to be considered for the next commissioner of baseball.

    I love the fact that he considers 2nd tier players beneath him but won’t pursue top tier players either. That leaves…….what? Maybe more fat players or players whose names turn up on police blotters? So let’s just put an end to that crazy CF FA talk right now.

    If the team is going to be truly competitive and not just settle at being thrilled to call barely avoiding 100 losses a success and play fans for chumps, he’s going to have to pay quality players a market rate salary. It’s irrelevant if that player joins the team as a FA or if he is traded to the team or if he is developed from the farm system, at some point during his arbitration years the team is going to have cough up the cash for a market value contract or let the player walk or trade him. It's unavoidable or the team is really operating as Expos South in a better ballpark. And acquiring a player, a good player, via trade rather than free agency is going to cost the team a couple of good prospects (and we can all name the players that another team will want) which they don’t have versus losing one second round draft pick. Their heads seem to be a little swollen by the “signed 20 for 20 draft picks” like they drafted 20 major league all stars and can now start trading them off. As though they now have an overflowing system of can’t miss hitters who barely have 100 ABs of short season ball and probably never saw consistent breaking balls or offspeed stuff and pitchers who have pitched less than 100 innings of short season baseball.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/20/2007 1:17 PM  

  • Chris, you are a hoot.

    Kasten also said (Fredericksburg paper) that the team needs 2 million + in attendance AND that next year's attendance will determine how much money will be spent in 2009 on players. The cart before the horse, maybe? Or chicken and egg? Lousy team = low attendance. Low attendance = lousy team.

    If you don't like lousy, how about sub-par? I've always believed the Lerner regime is into the Nats for the money they can milk from it. Kasten is their man.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/20/2007 1:55 PM  

  • Chris - I am in violent agreement with you on this one too. When I saw Kasten's comments, I was completely shocked. I guess he forgot the great Atlanta FA pick-ups (Greg Maddux, Terry Pendleton, and The Big Cat all ring a bell).

    I was so disappointed to see he won't be pursuing any top line free agents this winter. I hope it's all a ruse (like a historically bad team was this spring) to lower expectations so that if we do sign Andruw or Torii, it will be even better. I'm sure it's not, but I can always hope. My season tickets for comparable seats next year tripled in price (I almost said value). Given that, we'd better start trying to win soon, or I'm gonna jump ship.

    Finally -- how could he possibly say we aren't above trading prospects when right now that's all we have are prospects and hope. I thought the plan was to acquire and develop them. Now we're going to give them all away and start over? It would take too many of our current "prospects" to trade for one quality player. Two trades, and we're back to an Expos type farm system. End Rant!

    By Blogger Natsfan74, at 9/20/2007 2:10 PM  

  • Ah, yes...more selective editing. I suppose more "evidence" can now be created to prove how cheap these owners are. Of course, that was the point of this post. Understood. But still...

    According to the Post, Kasten also said: "Signing free agents prematurely moves you further away from your goal, not closer. I believe that deep in my heart."

    Key distinction. The addition of the free agents referenced by others was at a point where one or two key additions made a real difference to legitimate contention.

    By Blogger Jim H, at 9/20/2007 2:21 PM  

  • For a franchise building towards long-term success, free agents are a great way to fill a hole and make a team complete. The Braves were 1 or 2 players away from being good when they entered the FA market.

    For a team as far removed from long-term success as the Nationals still are, a big name free agent is a great way to sell tickets and keep people interested in your team, not just in the new ball park. The Nationals window of opportunity to capture fans is about to close. If they don't do something soon to build a loyal following, they'll have no following at all. But, I've been on the Redskins season ticket waiting list for years, and I just hope for a few more 5-11 seasons so I can get into the stadium.

    I have had season tickets every year and even have pretty good seats. But, this summer, I can't even give away tickets. I'll be there tonight, but can't find anyone else who wants to see a bad team in a crappy stadium with me (and admission is free for them).

    By Blogger Natsfan74, at 9/20/2007 2:42 PM  

  • "I'll be there tonight, but can't find anyone else who wants to see a bad team in a crappy stadium with me (and admission is free for them)."

    Have you tried bathing more often? Remember, when you're at RFK, you're on Washington Post Radio, not Survivor. Oh, wait, I guess you're not on Washington Post Radio any more either. Never mind.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 9/20/2007 3:05 PM  

  • Kasten dropped the ball big-time. What is to be gained by saying that the Nats will not pursue 1st tier FA's without at least seeing what the market is?

    I would be OK with it if to temper expectations Kasten had said, "We won't overpay for a free agent if it will hurt the team in the long run" or "When we examine the free agent market after the season, we will do so with the team's long term goals first in our mind to ensure that every signing advances the plan rather than hinders it".

    Kasten's statement that free agency is off the table except for the Damian Jacksons and Mike Bacsiks of the baseball world is simply a punch in the nuts to Nats fans who have bought into the "plan".

    The fact is Kasten and Bowden got lucky in 2007 that a below-market bullpen gave this team way above market results. Had the Nats bullpen had a Tampa Devil Ray or Cincinnati Reds type of year (which IMO is more about luck than it is player personnel skill as no baseball executive could have predicted that Jesus Colume (before August) Chris Schroeder (after July) and Saul Rivera would be as solid a middle relief corps as there is in baseball. Without these surprises this team had the starting pitching and the offense to be embarrassingly bad.

    Seems to me like Kasten has bought in a little too much to the idea that this team is closer to contending than it really is.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/20/2007 3:07 PM  

  • I just posted this on Svrluga's blog, but I'm ticked, so I am putting it here too (with typos corrected, I think):

    I bought 2 season tickets almost the day they became available when the move was announced, this was despite the fact that I was about to move to California.

    Losing the Senators broke my heart in 1971 when I was a little kid and I wanted to do everything I could to KEEP the Nationals in town.

    I ended up with two good seats right behind home plate in the front row of the yellow section -- and because I did NOT move to California have enjoyed being there in person at least 150 times the past three years.

    In the meantime, I got married and my wife and I had a baby... Two seats are no longer enough, we need three.

    So I filled out the forms, asked for an upgrade to 3 Full Season seats I really can't afford and figure that once again I was doing everything I could do to KEEP the Nationals in town.

    So imagine my surprise, anger and shock when I got a phone call from the Nationals this morning telling that since I only had two tickets at RFK, asking for three put me in the back of the line.

    Here I am, an incredibly loyal fan, raising my child to be one too and they're putting me at the back of the line?

    I must have spend a couple thousand dollars on crappy Aramark food and overpriced souvenirs over the past three years, not to mention incredibly overpriced parking on the weekends. I've recruited scores of people to support this team, yet......

    Stan, if you're reading this, I'm not happy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/20/2007 4:44 PM  

  • 515-
    My advice to you: Don't renew your season tickets!
    I bought a 20-plan the first year, but since then, I've been going on a game-by-game basis. Wanna know why?? Cuz by July I can pay for a cheap seat and slide my ass on down to one of the thousands of great, vacant seats. Just find the right usher.
    Next year will be no different ......once the new stadium novelty wears off, there will be PLENTY of good seats available!!!

    By Blogger Rob B, at 9/20/2007 6:49 PM  

  • In W-L records, the Nats strongly resemble the old Senators. But you have to admit that the Nats have much better spin. The old Senators knew they were bad and cheap, and did not try to hide it. The Nats promise a better tomorrow. Pledge your allegience!

    By the way, the big ticket price hike next season is essential, in order to pay for a costly stadium. I mean, it is not like anyone is going to give the Nats a new stadium for free or anything.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/20/2007 7:06 PM  

  • "Here I am, an incredibly loyal fan, raising my child to be one too and they're putting me at the back of the line?"

    You should also raise your child to pay attention, which clearly you don't. The scenario you laid out was clearly covered in the relocation materials that were sent to you by both e-mail and snail mail, and the Nationals are handling it in exactly the way they told you they would in those very materials you apparently never bothered to read. It wasn't buried in the fine print, either, because I noticed and remembered this and it doesn't even apply to me because I'm not trying to add any more tickets to my plan. Pardon my bluntness, but why should you qualify for special treatment on account of this when perhaps hundreds of others in your same situation aren't going to get it? And they probably aren't complaining about it either.

    By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 9/20/2007 8:46 PM  

  • AnBWar wrote: "And they probably aren't complaining about it either."

    What's wrong with complaining? I thought that's what blogs are for!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/21/2007 8:22 AM  

  • "Had the Nats bullpen had a Tampa Devil Ray or Cincinnati Reds type of year (which IMO is more about luck than it is player personnel skill as no baseball executive could have predicted that Jesus Colume (before August) Chris Schroeder (after July) and Saul Rivera would be as solid a middle relief corps as there is in baseball. Without these surprises this team had the starting pitching and the offense to be embarrassingly bad."

    Well ONE baseball executive thought they would. Sorry those idiots in Cincinnati and Tamper aren't as smart as JimBo.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/21/2007 9:46 AM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/26/2009 9:18 PM  

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