Outgoing Nationals president Stan Kasten met with reporters earlier this afternoon to debrief his tenure with the team. I’ll have more from that session shortly, but here are the highlights:
Kasten said the Nationals are looking at all sorts of options for their spring training home; the team has a lease at Space Coast Stadium that runs through 2017, but is exploring the possibility of moving to the Gulf Coast side of Florida, or even Arizona.
Kasten said he and owner Mark Lerner have toured complexes in Arizona, and stressed again that the Nationals’ distance from other franchises in Florida has become a problem, particularly after the Dodgers left Vero Beach following the 2008 spring season. If the Nationals were able to coax another team into the eastern part of the state, Kasten said, Viera would be a more palatable option.
Kasten batted away questions about whether he would be interested in succeeding MLB commissioner Bud Selig, saying he knows “no one in baseball who thinks Bud is stepping down in 2012” as he said he would. Kasten said he is flattered by suggestions that he could succeed Selig, but called questions about it “silly and unrealistic.” He will keep his minority ownership stake, at least for now, and will maintain some involvement with the Nationals.
Kasten also said he is confident ownership will spend money this offseason, saying it’s what the Nationals have been planning to do.
“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,” Kasten said. “They’re intent on backing Mike (Rizzo) 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.”