LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Ted Turner asked Stan Kasten to go from running one of his sports teams, the Atlanta Hawks, to another, the Atlanta Braves, 26 years ago, Kasten came into the job with a staunch philosophy he’d had in the NBA.
Acquire young players and be patient enough to let them grow.
The general manager of that Braves team, Bobby Cox, concurred. From 1987 to 2003, the Braves won more games than any team in baseball. On Monday, Cox, who moved to the dugout at Kasten’s request in 1990, was picked by the veterans committee for the Hall of Fame, along with Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa.
Perhaps there is a lesson in there somewhere for the Dodgers, who spent lavishly in the first year under the new owners, who include Kasten. They could be shifting to development mode, a push Kasten is championing.
“For me, Bobby and anyone who’s ever had sustained success, we talk about it all the time. We didn’t invent the philosophy,” Kasten said. “We had owners who were A, committed to committing resources in the minor leagues and, B, patient. The difference between then and now with the Dodgers is that, because of our market place, we can talk about doing both jobs at the same time.”
Kasten, who arrived at baseball’s winter meetings Sunday, reiterated his feeling that the Dodgers don’t need to make a major splash this winter, as they did by signing their No. 2 and 3 starters last year for more than $200 million combined.
“This year, I think we’re more into fine tuning,” Kasten said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t be opportunistic if some opportunity presents itself, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if we went through the whole winter without doing a big deal.”
Among the fine tuning the Dodgers are intent on here: finding a solution for the left side of their infield and acquiring a reliever or two.