WASHINGTON -- Stan Kasten was at Thursday night's game between the Nationals and Dodgers. Now president and CEO of the Dodgers, Kasten said he is happy for the Nationals, who are close to winning a division title.
"Mostly, I'm happy for all the people, all the friends that I have here -- the people that have worked so hard for so long and I know they are enjoying it and they deserve to enjoy it. They have done a great job," Kasten said.
Kasten was president of the Nationals from 2006 to 2010. While in that role, Kasten put an emphasis on building the team through the farm system.
"The turning point was Day 1, when [the Lerner family] was committed to a program of scouting and player development -- long-term building, try to build internally, get home-grown players," Kasten said. "As we see, the team that we see out there on the field is largely homegrown with some very key important strategic pieces added on top of it. That was always their plan. They didn't waver during the tough times. They stuck to their plan. You are seeing the results now. It appears they are going to enjoy those results in the years to come."
Kasten said he is "having a blast" working with the Dodgers and trying to help them rebuild their farm system.
"That farm system definitely needs rebuilding, particularly internationally," Kasten said. "In the last three years, the Dodgers were dead last in international signings. For a team that really pioneered international scouting, that's quite extraordinary.
"So we have taken steps to change that right away. We signed [Cuban outfielder] Yasiel Puig before the deadline to a $42 million contract. This year we will be spending up to the cap in international signings and looking at whatever opportunities we can find."