Stan Kasten Refutes Perception Dodgers Don’t Spend In Free Agency, Citing ‘Tax-Advantage’ Decisions
Stan Kasten, Dodgers
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Since being named Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations in 2014, Andrew Friedman hasn’t shied away from shaking up the roster as he sees necessary.

That was perhaps most evident last December when the likes of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp departed the organization in a seven-player trade with the Cincinnati Reds.

Friedman acknowledged the possibility of another potentially busy offseason this time around, citing the organization’s depth and financial flexibility as key ingredients to what could fuel a flurry of transactions. Though, Friedman cautioned that he will avoid being reckless in discussions with players and other teams.

With speculation arising that the Dodgers could make a major splash this winter, all eyes were on Friedman and whether he will come out of his comfort zone to reel in a top free agent. To this point, his largest expenditure to a player outside of the organization was the signing of A.J. Pollock to a modest four-year pact last offseason.

Dodgers president Stan Kasten has nevertheless grown irritated with the notion that the club is reluctant to dole out significant contracts in free agency, via MLB Network Radio:

“I’m on Andrew about this all the time. What is this Jedi mind trick he has with you and the media? We’ve led baseball in payroll for his five years in Los Angeles and all of you insist the guy is cheap and never spends any money. This really annoys the heck out of me. … Something that doesn’t get attention: we have spent about $20 million more than the CBT credit is. We’ve just done it in ways that are tax-advantage, let’s call it. That’s just smart workmanship. When you’re at $200 million, I don’t think you can criticize us for not spending money. You can criticize our moves, you can criticize our judgement. That’s all fair. But when teams with $60 and $80 million payrolls like Tampa and Oakland make the postseason, I don’t think you can criticize us if we’re around $200 million.”

As for possible moves the Dodgers can make this offseason, Kasten noted that the starting rotation, bullpen and lineup are in need of upgrades.

L.A. was connected to top free agents such as Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, though each signed elsewhere. So too did Madison Bumgarner, and Josh Donaldson may no longer be a target. The Dodgers are said to be interested in a reunion with Hyun-Jin Ryu.

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