It's funny, how everybody's talking about Magic Johnson while essentially ignoring the money (Guggenheim Partners) and the brains (Stan Kasten) behind the operation.
Which isn't to suggest that Magic's not a sharp guy. He is. But he's never run a major professional sports franchise, while Kasten's run a bunch of them, generally quite well. From Ken Rosenthal:
"If they have Stan Kasten in their group, who else would run their team?" asked Kasten’s friend and former associate, Braves president John Schuerholz.
"You’ve got one of the most successful guys in our business, in professional sport."
"If you have good knowledge, good experience, good expertise and money? I’ve always said that the combination (makes) for a successful franchise."
He was named general manager of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks at 27. He is the only NBA executive to win back-to-back Executive of the Year awards. At one point, he was team president of three professional sports franchises — the Braves, Hawks and the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers — plus chairman of the Philips Arena in Atlanta.
The Braves were successful in part because Kasten delegated most baseball decisions in Schuerholz. With the Dodgers, one of Kasten’s first major decisions will be whether to retain GM Ned Colletti. Kasten won’t necessarily bring in his own man — he promoted Mike Rizzo to Nationals GM rather than look outside the organization. Then again, Kasten also made sure to hire statistical analysts to complement Rizzo’s scouting background.
And then there's Jayson Werth. Which isn't fair, I know. Just worth remembering that even good organizations do things that make you wonder.
Kasten's said positive things about the Dodgers' front office, but my guess is that Colletti's going to be on a fairly short leash. Still, while it's fashionable to castigate Colletti, since he became GM in 2005 the Dodgers own the third-best winning percentage in the National League, and for much of his tenure he's been saddled with dysfunctional ownership. So unless Kasten's already got someone else in mind for the job, there's probably good reason to see what Colletti can do with a little support from his bosses.