Results tagged ‘ Stan kasten ’

Kasten happy Nationals were successful in this year’s draft

Stan Kasten said on Thursday the Nationals did a great job by signing most of their top picks — such as third baseman Anthony Rendon and left-hander Matt Purke — from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

“Awesome, fantastic,” Kasten said about Washington’s success with this year’s draft. “It’s what you need to do. They are doing it. I’m so proud of [general manager] Mike Rizzo, [assistant general manager] Roy Clark and [scouting director] Kris Kline. They do a great job. It’s exactly what you need to do build a team. You have to do it year in, year out, which they are starting to do. When you do, good things will happen.

“The owners deserve a lot of credit for stepping up. It’s starts with your scouts. People leading that effort — like Mike — there is no group better than them. I think they showed it this year. The owners showed their support. It’s all good. It’s all really positive. They have the makings of a good team here, but even better, a good homegrown team. That’s the best kind of team of all.”

Kasten was at Nationals Park when the club introduced Purke to the media. Kasten found out that Purke wears No. 47 because of his baseball hero, left-hander Tom Glavine. Kasten has a close relationship with Glavine after working together for 16 years in the Braves organization. So Kasten took out his blackberry, called Glavine and had him talk to Purke.

“They talked today,” Kasten said. “It was fun for Tommy and fun for Matt, who was sky high after that. It was real easy to do. I said to Matt, ‘Here’s Tommy.’ And Tommy was happy to do it.”

Kasten was the Nationals’ president from 2006 until last year. Under his leadership, the Nationals started replenishing their farm system by drafting and signing players such as right-hander Stephen Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper.

Kasten declined to say why he was in the DC area.

Kasten happy Rizzo received extension

Former Nationals president Stan Kasten was happy to learn that the club promoted general manager Mike Rizzo to executive vice president of baseball operations and gave him a five-year extension. 

The Nationals started talking to Rizzo about an extension after Kasten resigned from his role as president of the club.

When reached by phone, Kasten said the Nationals giving Rizzo the extension is an important demonstration of stability for the franchise.

“It’s something every successful franchise needs,” Kasten said via telephone. “It a great step for the franchise and also a great indication to the fans about how serious the organization is about building long-term success.” 

It was Kasten who lured Rizzo away from the D-Backs in 2006 to become the Nationals’ director of scouting. For the next two-plus seasons, Kasten groomed Rizzo for his future role.

Rizzo would be named interim GM in March of 2009 and received full-time status a few months later.         
                                 
“Mike has a real gift for examining players and being able to tell which players are going to be successful and the ones who are not. It’s not a perfect science, obviously,” Kasten said.  “It was very clear he wanted to be a GM. He was preparing for it while he was a scouting director — learning everything he could.

“He asked good questions to the best people in the business, With addition to having all the skills to being a scout, he also did other things that he could to become a GM.”

Since becoming the GM, the Nationals are loaded with young pitchers — including 2009 No. 1 overall Draft pick Stephen Strasburg, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery — who are expected to make an impact in the big leagues very soon.

The team also has its share of sluggers in the system including Bryce Harper who is expected to be in the big leagues in two years.

“In the last two years, we’ve seen, I think, all of the good things that Mike has been able to do. And I think you could look forward to even more of that now and going forward,” Kasten said.            

Solis close to signing with Nats

It looks like a deal is close to getting done between the Nationals and left-hander Sammy Solis, the team’s second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, according to a baseball source.

The Nats have until Monday at midnight to get a deal done. 

The source said the talks between the two parties are amicable, and the Nationals are doing everything they can to get a deal done before the deadline.

Nationals president Stan Kasten, general manager Mike Rizzo and Solis’ advisor Nez Balelo were not available for comment.

The 6-foot-5, 228-pound left-hander came back after missing nearly all of the 2009 season with a herniated disc in his back.

Solis suffered the injury while lifting weights two years ago, and it limited him to two games that year. Opting against surgery, he spent an entire summer rehabbing and getting back in shape at “Athletes Performance” in Arizona.

All of the hard work he did in getting back from that injury eventually paid off. Solis went 9-2 with a 3.42 ERA for the University of San Diego this season. He struck out 92 batters and walking 29 in 92 innings.

“I’ve put in a lot of hours and a lot of hard work, and to have it finally pay off, especially with the Nationals, it’s really exciting,” Solis said back in June. “The Nationals are young and up and coming. I know that they have good people in there, move guys up quick and are going to treat me right.”

Associate reporter Greg Rosenstein contributed to this report.

A statement from Stan Kasten

This statement is from Stan Kasten on behalf of the Nationals organization:

With the recent restructuring of the Washington Times in mind, I would like to–on behalf of the Nationals–thank the entire Times sports department for their fantastic coverage of the Nationals and baseball as a whole.

I would single out the individual and collective efforts of Mark Zuckerman, Ben Goessling and Thom Loverro, the Times’s primary baseball team. Their day-to-day professionalism and devoted coverage chronicled the Nationals’s early years in DC and set a foundation of journalistic excellence that Nationals fans have come to expect.

We wish Mark, Ben, Thom and everyone from the Times the very best going forward.

Kasten sees bright future for Nats

Nationals team president Stan Kasten acknowledged recently he is disappointed in the team’s record, but feels good times are ahead for the franchise.

After the season, the Nationals are expected to know which players on the current roster will stay for the long term and determine who they would like to add this offseason. Kasten declined to name the players the Nationals have interest in, but it’s not a secret the team needs to improve the pitching staff — starting and relieving — its defense and tweak the offense.

“I’m not happy about the season and it signifies a horrible year on the field, but it has not been a horrible year in terms of progress toward our goal,” Kasten said. “It has been an important year in identifying the pieces we have as part of the long-term solution. We have come long way this year. We know a lot more about where we are and what we need than [we did earlier in the season].”

The Nationals have also stockpiled arms in the Minor Leagues, something Kasten promised back in 2006, and above-average position players — catcher Derek Norris and outfielder Michael Burgess — who could be in the Major Leagues in two years.

“I hear people talk about our Minor Leagues all the time, but what they don’t understand is our depth,” Kasten said. “They make a mistake when they say we don’t have any position players. All we have is pitching. Of course, they are wrong.

“In the Arizona Fall League, we will show some of the position players that we have. To say all we have is pitching  — oh, my goodness. That is a huge thing. Clubs would kill to have the wealth of pitching that we have.”

Kasten, Cox had great years together in Atlanta

Braves manager Bobby Cox, one of the best skippers in baseball history, announced Wednesday, he will retire after the 2010 season and then do consulting work for the organization.

Two days later, Nationals president Stan Kasten had a lot of good things to say about Cox, and why not? The two worked together for more than 15 years in Atlanta.

“What do you say about a Hall of Famer? He is a fantastic human being and fantastic leader of men,” Kasten said. “He has a great understanding of the game of baseball, and how to lead people than anybody I have ever been around. It’s a pleasure to know him and was a pleasure to work with him.”

Cox was the general manager when the Braves named Kasten the president in 1987. The one deal Cox made for the future that year was trading right-hander Doyle Alexander  to the Tigers for a prospect named John Smoltz. Two-hundred tens wins, 154 saves and a Cy Young award later, Smoltz made the deal one sided in favor of the Braves.

“At our state where we were, we made the big leap and spent that much [money] on a player that wanted to play for us, but down the stretch, we felt we might be able to get something good for him. I didn’t know we would get a Hall of Famer and a Cy Young award winner for Doyle Alexander,” Kasten said. “That was a good deal that Bobby made — signing Doyle and trading for John.

Three years later, Cox began his second stint as manager of the Braves and guided them to 15 straight division titles, five pennants and one World Series title.           

Strasburg offered record contract

The Nationals have offered Stephen Strasburg a record contract for a pitcher coming out of the First-Year Player Draft, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com. The Washington Post was the first to report the story on Saturday. 

The source did not give a dollar amount, but it is more that the $10.5 million right-hander Mark Prior received after the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

Team president Stan Kasten did not return a phone message and acting general manager Mike Rizzo, who is on the road trip with the Nationals, declined to comment on the Strasburg situation. 

The source said the Nationals did not come away believing that will reach a deal with the right hander before the midnight deadline on Monday. In fact,  Kasten was realistic and told the Associated Press that Strasburg may not sign.

“With 48 hours to go, I simply have no idea whether we’re going to be able to reach a deal,” Kasten told AP.

The Nationals feel strongly that Strasburg can make an immediate impact in their rotation, maybe joining the team’s Major League roster sometime in September.

If he is promoted to the big leagues this season, Strasburg will become only the third pitcher in baseball history to be drafted No. 1 and play in the Majors in the same year, joining Rangers left-hander David Clyde in 1973 and Orioles right-hander Ben McDonald in ’89.

Strasburg, 20, went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA in 15 starts this season at San Diego State University en route to being named the Golden Spikes Award winner. He struck out 195 batters and issued just 19 walks in 109 innings.

“This kid is so impressive. We have nothing but the highest regard for him. If he wants to come and begin his career right now — and do so with the largest contract ever given to any drafted player in the history of Major League Baseball — we can help him accomplish that,” Kasten told AP. “But if this is more about changing the whole way an industry does business, then we won’t be able to reach a deal.

“We think he’s not just a draft pick–we think he’s a special player, which is why we extended ourselves as much as we did, and will continue to entertain any other issues or concerns he might have in order to get him signed.”

 

Kasten: Report on Mazzone not true

Nationals team president Stan Kasten said on Tuesday night that the organization has not had conversations with Leo Mazzone to become its pitching coach.

The Washington Post reported earlier in the day that Mazzone is being considered for the role, but Kasten insisted that Steve McCatty will remain the pitching coach at least for this season.

“I don’t know why such a report would come out,” Kasten said via phone. “We have not had discussions with Leo Mazzone. Steve McCatty is our pitching coach.”

McCatty has been the Nationals’ pitching coach since early June when he replaced Randy St. Claire. The young rotation, which features John Lannan, Craig Stammen and Jordan Zimmermann have performed well under McCatty. Both Lannan and Stammen have a complete under McCatty.

Kasten has a long history with Mazzone. The two worked together for over a decade when they were both with the Braves. Kasten was the team president and Mazzone was the pitching coach in Atlanta.    

Nats launch unprecedented program

The Nationals announced their 2009 DC Public High School Initiative recently. Nationals President Stan Kasten announced the landmark initiative which consists of two elements: one that is specific to the District High Schools with baseball teams and one that applies to all of the public high schools within the city. 

The Nationals have invited each of the 12 district public high school baseball teams to hold one two-hour practice at Nationals Park, utilizing either the field or the indoor batting cages. 

This exceptional program is offered at no cost to the schools. Practices will take place before the end of the school year and be held from 3:30 p.m. ET to 5:30 p.m. ET. Three high schools — Cardozo Senior High School, Dunbar High School and Roosevelt Senior High School — have already scheduled their practices

“The Washington Nationals are thrilled to provide our field for the High School baseball players who may one day wear our uniform,” Kasten said. “This is a unique opportunity for the city’s young athletes to spend a few hours on a Major League ball field. In addition, through our wide-spread ticket donation program, we are pleased to invite each public high school to enjoy their own very night at Nationals Park.”

All public high schools have been invited to select one home game from a list of available dates to be billed as their night at Nationals Park. The team will donate tickets for students and faculty to attend the game and their school will be recognized as part of a pre-game recognition ceremony.

Additionally, the Nationals have named the district public high school athletic departments as the recipient of the 2009 Baseball Equipment Drive in partnership with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. Fans may donate new and gently used baseball and softball equipment during the first weekend in May (1-3) when the team faces the Cardinals. 

A $5,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, along with the donated equipment, will be shared among the district public high school athletic departments.

An update on Carlos Alvarez

During the team’s off-day on Thursday, assistant general manager Mike Rizzo and team president Stan Kasten went to the Dominican Republic to check on their new baseball academy in Boca Chica. Both Rizzo and Kasten said the players are in a beautiful facility near a beach resort.
 
“We met our staff. We meant the players. It was very good,” Kasten said. “Things are looking good already and I’m very optimistic going forward.”
 
On April 7, the Nationals are bringing nine players to the United States to play in extended spring training, and seven of those players will go back to the Dominican Republic to play in the Summer League.
 
There is no word of when infielder Carlos Alvarez, who previously called himself Esmailyn Gonzalez, will come to Minor League camp.  He was expected to arrive two weeks ago, but has been a no-show.
 
“I can tell you there is a lot going on behind the scenes. I know that’s vague, but I have to keep it there. This has a lot of levels and a lot of different entities,” Kasten said. “It’s going to take a while. There is still a chance he winds up playing here. It would need to be soon, so I wouldn’t rule that out at all. Things have to happen first.”
 
Alvarez, who received a $1.4 million signing bonus from the Nationals in 2006, allegedly falsified his name and age. In Washington’s 2008 media guide, Alvarez is listed as 19, but is really 23. Major League Baseball’s department of investigations is looking into the matter.                                               
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