Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 5/3/12
This is how it largely worked for Ned Colletti in recent years: Frank McCourt would give him a number, and then expect the general manager to bring in the team payroll at or under that figure. So maybe he loses a Hiroki Kuroda because he costs a tad too much, and then tries to make up for it by signing Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. Those payroll juggling days, however, may be over for Colletti. At least in the fashion hes grown accustomed to. New team President Stan Kasten said Wednesday thats not the way he operates. There will be no preset payroll figure; the Dodgers opening-day payroll this season was 91 million. I expect moving forward its going to be north of where it is now, Kasten said. But I have to tell you, I never focus on a target in getting the 25 guys. Because as you know, there are some teams that are really good with very low payrolls, and you would rather have those teams than a higher payroll team thats not. So focus on the players that we get and dont worry so much about the payroll. I dont have a set number for you because were not going to do it that way. Were going to take every opportunity that we can. If that means increasing payroll, then thats whats going to happen. Kasten also said Dodgers controlling partner Mark Walter has given him the authority to pursue whatever free agents he deems a proper fit. You can expect us to be aggressive, Kasten said. Were going to be in on everything, but it has to fit for us. It has to fit short term and it has to fit long term. Thats a complicated question that I cant answer with a yes or no, except to say were going to be aggressive and seize on every opportunity. Mark has given me the authority, the autonomy and the resources to do exactly that. Other topics Kasten touched on after Wednesdays press conference: -- The organizational staff is too lean. I know we have some openings, people that were looking to hire right now. It occurs to me, were also understaffed in some areas. I will certainly be working to fix those things as soon as possible. I think its a thin organization in a number of areas. There may be a good reason for that. I want to take time to learn that. Im not coming in with any preconceptions. Yeah, theres a good reason. McCourts front-office carousel was a national embarrassment. -- Some early priorities will be on the farm system, scouting and stadium infrastructure, but hes trying not to operate under preconceived ideas. Were going to do all the things we need to. Weve discussed a lot of things today that I want to do, but I dont know enough to tell you the answers. Like infrastructure, like entertainment, like amenities, like enhancements, and like payroll. I dont know enough about circumstances, but I cant wait to get started and find out. -- He has already met with executives of Levy, the stadium concessionaire, observed the long lines, and made clear his priorities at the refreshment stands variety, quality, prices and service. -- His interest in modernizing Dodger Stadium is not just about the structure itself. I do know this, I go to other stadiums and I see whats available in terms of video and electronics at a higher level almost every place we go. I want to understand why that is and what can be done about it, if anything. That would obviously impact the game presentation. I want it to be the best it can be. Twenty-first century fans kind of expect that. And if they expect it, I want to deliver it. --Steve Dilbeck
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