Original Subtitle: How come Major League Baseball has not been trying harder to sell the Expos before now? The longer MLB waits the weaker the Expos will become.
Montreal is in a corner. Luckily they don’t have to act like they are. This year’s salary is a strain, next year it will be an impossibility. Where are the buyers? Why hasn’t Major League Baseball, the owner of the ‘Spos’ been trying harder to find a new buyer? Certainly with the talent Montreal possesses there should be owners crawling out of the woodwork to acquire this team-especially with a promise they can move the team to another city. Certainly there are cities where a MLB team would be more than welcome and could make money.
The lack of publicity in trying to find a new owner is more than puzzling, in fact it could be argued that it is criminal. Because of this silence, and major league baseball’s limit on the payroll at $40 million dollars the ‘Spos will have to make some roster moves. Truthfully they have some time, they could skimp and carry a lot of this year’s payroll at the cost of their bench They at some point will have to shed some of their key players who will be commandi even more money next year.
Major League baseball believes it can find a owner and make just as much money without having to pay Montreal’s stars. This will force the jettisoning of players who could be a long term nucleus for a serious contender. It will allow the rich teams to steal these players away from the few fans the Montreal organization has gathered, and leave any new owner among the have nots in baseball.
Major League Owners, who actually are the owners of the Expos, have been salivating at the prospect of a Montreal fire sale. Just look at the winter meetings and realize how little business was conducted due to the vultures waiting on the Expos to make a move. I’m not going to lie and tell you I don’t wish my Amazin’s couldn’t snag a Colon or a Guerrero on the cheap, but I don’t believe that baseball is handling this franchise fairly.
Montreal is in many ways one of the most successful of the small market teams. It has developed huge stars, decade after decade, due to a great farm system and good scouting. An astute observer might realizes this is the real jewel of the Montreal organization. They should also realize that the budgetary constraints placed on this team will lead to the destruction of that system if the Expos don’t make some of those dramatic moves in this offseason. Montreal knew this last year when they traded a number of their most talented minor leaguers for Bartolo Colon, but it didn’t matter then because they thought they were going to be contracted.
Montreal’s General Manager Omar Minaya, realizes this, and knows that while he may on the books have $40 million dollars to play with, in reality he has that sum minus whatever it takes to keep the farm and scouting systems up and running. Its a balancing act that can only go on for so long. The longer Montreal is owner by MLB the less they will truly be bringing with them to wherever they wind up.
All this will do is create another weak team with years of rebuilding ahead of them. This would be a sad fate for an organization that has struggled so long to build a champion and may finally posses most of the pieces.