Kasten says Dodgers thinking big

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers president Stan Kasten said Thursday the team hopes to be active ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and that finances won't be an impediment to improving.

As an organization, Kasten said, the Dodgers are thinking big and welcome expectations for aggressive action.

"As candid as I can be, we're the Dodgers. We're supposed to be big. We intend to be big. So will we look at big things? You bet. That's as straight as I can be," Kasten said. "We are The Dodgers. That's all caps, alright? You should write that. All caps. We are 'THE DODGERS' all caps. And we should act that way."

Short on high-end position players in their minor league system, Kasten acknowledged translating the desire for significant maneuvers into tangible results may not be easy. However, while avoiding conversation about specific players or contract-related hypotheticals, he indicated a willingness to explore any option available.

"I can't think of anything I would rule out," he said. "I don't know that there's ever a time you don't want to improve your team. If you're in a hunt, and we're definitely in the hunt, you want to improve your chances as you go down the stretch. We know our competitors are going to be improving themselves, and so we expect to be doing the same thing."

Before Thursday, the Dodgers had lost eight of their past nine games, and hadn't scored a run over their last 30 innings. Center fielder Matt Kemp, who finished second in last year's National League MVP race, remains on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring, and fellow All-Star Andre Ethier is day to day because of an oblique strain suffered in the first inning of Wednesday's loss to the Giants in San Francisco.

Additionally, second baseman Mark Ellis and reliever Javy Guerra are out. All four are expected to return before or shortly after the All-Star break.

With that in mind, Kasten expressed optimism the Dodgers as constructed can remain competitive, particularly given the performance of the pitching staff, which has, like the team as a whole, exceeded his expectations.

"If you look at how we were doing up until two weeks ago, it was really extraordinary what this group of players has done given the injuries that we've had," Kasten said. "So assuming that those guys are still here, plus we're getting some people back in the near future, absolutely we can contend with the group that we have now. Having said that, I want to repeat ... we will do all we can (to improve)."

Brian Kamenetzky is a contributor for ESPNLosAngeles.com..