MLB.com caught up with Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten to talk about his club and the quest to return to the World Series after falling to the Astros in Game 7 last year.MLB.com: How fun was it to watch this team play throughout the 2017 season?Kasten: We had a
MLB.com caught up with Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten to talk about his club and the quest to return to the World Series after falling to the Astros in Game 7 last year.
MLB.com: How fun was it to watch this team play throughout the 2017 season?
Kasten: We had a special season. We were on a run in the middle of it that was never done before. We were 50-10 -- just impossible stuff. Then we folded and had an 11-game losing streak right after that. It was tremendously thrilling to live through it and to watch the usual ups and downs of baseball -- something I will never forget. But I think we are capable of being that good again.
MLB.com: Could the 2018 Dodgers be even better?
Kasten: I think they could be as good or better. We have all our key pieces back. We expect more additions to come from what has been a very fertile farm system. I think we are going to be good. But I think we are going to be good in the way baseball is changing. Last year, we saw evolution in how the game is played -- shorter [outings] from starters, more use of bullpen, greater reliance on home runs than base hits. We are a team that is well suited to those kinds of evolutionary changes in the game. I expect that to continue.
We also have a manager [Dave Roberts] who has embraced managing the game that is changing. He has a strong bond with all of the people in his locker room. It's hard to do both of those things. I think Dave has captured that ability. I think we have the perfect personality and staff behind him to compete in this new world of baseball.
MLB.com: Is there any Minor Leaguer who will have an impact this year?
Kasten: Everybody is talking about the obvious ones, like Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo. But we have a lot of depth. One of the hallmarks of this front office is not focusing on the 25-man roster, but more focusing on the 40-man roster. Over the course of the year, we expect to use all 40 of those players and maybe bring in new players along the way. They don't take a day off. They don't take a game off. That philosophy permeates the entire organization.
MLB.com: What is the biggest thing that you are worried about?
Kasten: Injuries. Because of our depth, we handle them better than many other teams. Too many injuries can sink any team. There's very little we can do proactively about it, even though we work very hard in the training room and with our analytics people about anticipating injuries, preventing injuries and then finally treating injuries. But still, if you have a bad run of luck, that could even sink the best of teams.
MLB.com: How important was it for the Dodgers to get under the luxury tax?
Kasten: It was secondary to our long-term planning. Our job is to win this year. That's always the primary goal. We are well-positioned by doing some payroll maneuvering. We think we are also better positioned now to be competitive and successful in the future. Being able to accomplish both of those things was very useful for us.