MLB

Kasten, Magic perfect fit for Dodgers

Jon Paul Morosi on what Magic Johnson will bring to the Dodgers.
Jon Paul Morosi on what Magic Johnson will bring to the Dodgers.
Share This Story

Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

Let’s get one thing straight: Magic Johnson will generate the buzz, but Stan Kasten will run the Dodgers.

FOX Fantasy Baseball
FOX FANTASY BASEBALL
Sign up today for FOX Fantasy Baseball. It's fun, easy and 100% free.
JOIN OR CREATE A LEAGUE TODAY!»

“If they have Stan Kasten in their group, who else would run their team?” asked Kasten’s friend and former associate, Braves president John Schuerholz.

“You’ve got one of the most successful guys in our business, in professional sport.”

Indeed, from a baseball perspective, the involvement of Kasten in the new ownership group is the best news of all for the Dodgers — and that’s not to diminish the presence of Johnson, who also will make a huge impact.

Kasten, 60, is expected to be team president. Johnson, 52, will be one of the owners — likely more than a figurehead, given his passion and work ethic, but not a day-to-day decision-maker.

Remember a few months back, when Johnson said that as an owner, he would have been standing outside Albert Pujols’ door the moment Pujols became a free agent, ready to begin the recruiting process?

DODGER BLUEPRINTS

LA's ballpark one of the oldest in baseball. Take a look back at the history of Chavez Ravine's jewel.

Kasten, a tough negotiator, might not want Johnson to be quite that exuberant, though the Miami Marlins successfully employed such a strategy with free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes.

Still, the marriage between Kasten and Johnson figures to work quite well, especially given the backing of Chicago’s Guggenheim Partners, who financed the $2.15 billion deal.

Johnson not only will be incredibly valuable as the face of the franchise, but also is a savvy businessman — his company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, has a reported net worth of $700 million.

“He’s very hard-working and conscientious, and has an amazing gift for detail,” said Tony Ponturo, co-producer of “Magic/Bird,” a new Broadway play about the friendship and rivalry between Johnson and Larry Bird. “He picks up on all the nuances of a business situation.”

Ponturo learned that first-hand when “Magic/Bird” was in the early stages, seeking Johnson’s support. Johnson committed to the project only after doing his homework, developing an understanding for the process and attending “Lombardi,” a play based on the life of Vince Lombardi and produced by Ponturo and his partner, Fran Kirmser.

27 UP, 27 DOWN

As the tension built, Philip Humber just got better. See the best shots of his perfect game.

That’s the thing about Magic, though — he’s a busy guy. It’s impossible to imagine him playing a minor role with the Dodgers, serving as little more than an official greeter. But the big decisions will belong to Kasten, who boasts an excellent track of running high-payroll teams.

You’ve heard of the Braves’ dynasty, haven’t you?

Kasten was the Braves’ president from 1986 to 2003. The Braves, under owner Ted Turner, were a top-seven payroll team from ’93 to ’03 — and No. 3 overall five times in a six-year stretch during that period.

Which is not to say the Braves were wild spenders.

Their signing of Greg Maddux to a five-year, $28 million free-agent contract in the winter of 1992 made Maddux the second-highest paid pitcher at that time. But Maddux won 15 or more games for the Braves the next 11 seasons, prompting Kasten to call him “the greatest free-agent signing ever.”

The Braves, under Kasten, also were heavily involved in the bidding for Alex Rodriguez after the 2000 season. But they didn’t come close to matching the Texas Rangers’ 10-year, $252 million offer. Their restraint showed Kasten’s good sense, and became almost a badge of honor.

Still, Kasten’s friends say that he believes in paying for stars — and now he will be in Los Angeles, a town that craves stars.

COSTUME BALL

Joe Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays are known for wild, themed road trips.

Kasten became frustrated during his tenure as president of the Washington Nationals when ownership declined to spend big. Rest assured, the Dodgers will not be bystanders when pitchers such as Cole Hamels and Matt Cain hit the open market next offseason.

“We invested in our product and our product was good and remained good for a long time,” said Schuerholz, who was the Braves’ GM under Kasten.

“If you have good knowledge, good experience, good expertise and money? I’ve always said that the combination (makes) for a successful franchise.”

Hello, Kasten.

He was named general manager of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks at 27. He is the only NBA executive to win back-to-back Executive of the Year awards. At one point, he was team president of three professional sports franchises — the Braves, Hawks and the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers — plus chairman of the Philips Arena in Atlanta.

The Braves were successful in part because Kasten delegated most baseball decisions in Schuerholz. With the Dodgers, one of Kasten’s first major decisions will be whether to retain GM Ned Colletti. Kasten won’t necessarily bring in his own man — he promoted Mike Rizzo to Nationals GM rather than look outside the organization. Then again, Kasten also made sure to hire statistical analysts to complement Rizzo’s scouting background.

None of that is particularly sexy.

Magic is sexy. Magic brings charisma. Magic’s fight against HIV has made him one of the most inspiring figures of our age.

“What a great figure to add,” Schuerholz said. “Here’s a guy not even in our sport, but I admire the heck out of him, every fan in America probably does.

“He stands for a lot of really positive things. He adds additional credibility, additional fervor to the organization. He has been a champion himself. I think it enhances the franchise immeasurably.”

Enhances, but doesn’t complete.

That’s Kasten’s job. And rest assured, he will do it well.

Tagged: Braves, Dodgers

More Stories From Ken Rosenthal

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..