Kasten on the organization -- and on the radio

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Stan Kasten just met with reporters a few minutes ago, shortly before he appeared on 980 AM. Here’s what he had to say, first to us and then a few snippets from his radio appearance:

Who would be in charge if another team called with a trade offer? “It has happened. I’m in charge. I’ve done this before. I’m doing what we need to do to keep the franchise moving forward, and I’m pleased to say that’s exactly what has been happening. I met with the staff this morning, made sure everyone understood their roles, made sure all our tasks were getting covered, also made sure everyone understood adversity invariably creates opportunity, too. Everyone should view this as an occasion for opportunity, an occasion to demonstrate initiative, and to show the same enthusiasm that all of us around the team feel about the team itself. We should feel that way about the front office, as well. I do think there are opportunities for renewed initiative. I’d like to see it, it would get rewarded.”

Do you have a preference for an in-house replacement versus someone outside the organization? “That would be an excellent question for some time later in the week, when I address it. I’m not addressing it today.”

Has anyone else’s role changed, or are you filling in what Jim did in addition to what you normally do? “I would say the latter is more closely descriptive of where I am at the moment. We have exhorted people to step up. I expect them to step up. I need them to step up, and to a man, that’s what they’ve already done.”

When you say step up, does that mean more scouting or working longer hours? “In some cases, it means that. It also means, as I said, I would appreciate initiative now. I know you had roles before. I want to continue you to do that. But if you have more ideas, new ideas, this is a great time to be throwing them out, putting them out on the table, letting us take advantage of an opportunity to stretch our capabilities. That’s what I’ve invited. I’ve also challenged them, and I have to say I’m so pleased at the reaction so far. We have a deep bench. That’s not an accident. It was a philosophy of Jim’s, it was a philosophy of mine. When I came in, we did make some hires. We brought in senior people like Mike Rizzo, we brought in the guys I call the “Mod Squad,” the guys who work night and day on sabermetrics, on all kinds of other new media tools. They have performed a broad range of functions in the past, and I invited and challenged each of them to do even more. With aggressive young people, that’s music to their ears, so that was received extremely well, I think.”

Do you anticipate any more turnover? “I’ll talk about turnover when it comes. There’s nothing I want to say about that today. I think, though, that I like and support everyone who is a Washington National. You’ve heard me say that before, but it’s how I feel. It’s truly how I feel. The senior people are all close to me, and I hope that continues.”

And here are a few quotes from Kasten’s radio appearance:

On whether he believes Jim Bowden is innocent of any wrongdoing in the Dominican Republic: “I have, to this day, not been shown evidence of any wrongdoing. That’s a fact. Jim, looking at things, made the decision to take this course. I support him with it. I agree that it’s the best course. I think that was the right choice. We have to direct (fans’) attention on the field. Lately, too much of the attention has been off the field. With this series of moves in the last week or so, we can get the attention back to where it needs to be.”

On if he’ll feel any remorse if Bowden is cleared in the Dominican probe: “First of all, I hope and expect that’s exactly what will happen. I think it will be great for him, certainly give him a leg up for his next gig. If the team does the best it can this year, it will certainly be a credit to Jim. I do expect him to be exonerated. He has assured me he will be. I hope that’s the case.”

On whether people should read anything into the fact that Mike Rizzo was not immediately named interim GM: “You really shouldn’t. I tell the writers this all the time, ‘How about waiting for news and then reporting it?’ That’s the way it should be, instead of writing their own version of what might happen. I understand, that’s the downside of me not talking. I think we saw a couple days last week I wasn’t talking because stuff was happening. I was working on things.”

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