A day before it was announced that outgoing Nats' President Stan Kasten would be stepping down from his role with the Washington Nationals, he was quoted in an article by Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell entitled, "As Nats embark on next journey, will Stan Kasten be on board?", saying, when asked if he'd be around D.C. for Opening Day 2011, "'I can honestly tell you that no decision has been made,' Kasten said. 'Remember, I am the master of misdirection.'" Of course it was later revealed that Mr. Kasten had informed the team of his plans the previous winter, as far back as January.
So what about the comments Mr. Kasten made in several publications about how aggressive the Nationals were going to be in their attempts to improve the Nationals this winter? Mr. Kasten told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark in early September, in a section of an article entitled, "Is it time to push back trading deadline?" which was subtitled, "National reset", that Washington would be, "more aggressive than we've ever been" this winter as they looked to upgrade the major league roster, explaining to the WaPost's Mr. Boswell later in the month that "This is the time to act,":
"We are close. This is how it felt in Atlanta just before we turned it around. Once you've laid the groundwork and improved the farm system, you need to add some pieces. That's where we are now."
As he walked away, appearing yesterday in his last official press conference (transcribed by MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling in an article entitled, "A transcript of Stan Kasten's final press conference.") as a member of the Nationals' Front Office, Mr. Kasten (who you'll notice is still saying "We") once again reiterated that he believed the Nats' ownership understood how important this winter was for the future of the franchise:
"We think we're getting closer. And I know the owners are intent on making this successful and on winning here. Believe me, it's their best case. It's how all of us do better, when we win. They're intent on backing Mike up and pursuing the things he wants to pursue and giving him the resources to do it. That's all we talked about all summer. I think we're all on the same page. So when I talk about an active offseason, it's because it's what we've all talked about, internally with each other."
Asked if thought Adam Dunn would be a National next season, Mr. Kasten would only say, "...for today, yes, I think so,":
"Obviously, the free agent window is shorter this year so we'll all know, I think, sooner than we might have in the past. I hope that happens. I think it will be the right thing not just for us. But it would be the right thing for Adam."
So Kasten's leaving the team as close to contention as they've been since baseball's return to the nation's capital, in his opinion at least, with a rebuilt farm system, rebuilt front office, a few marquee stars in Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper and the recommendation that the team spend money to bring Adam Dunn back in the middle of their lineup while signing free agents to supplement the team they've put together. The hope for Nats fans is that Mr. Kasten isn't leaving because his voice wasn't being heard as some believed and he denied. This winter should provide fans with the answers to those questions...
• Read the Full Transcript of Mr. Kasten's final interview as transcribed by MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling HERE.