If and when the Montreal Expos are moved, somebody somewhere is going to be getting a pretty good franchise -- one that is chock full of solid, young players under club control for several more years (Jose Vidro, Nick Johnson, et al.), a farm system full of highly touted prospects and a refreshing lack of debt obligations in the form of long-term contracts.
Those new owners also will, if they wish, gain the services of the man largely responsible for keeping the Expos competitive for most of the last three seasons -- since Major League Baseball bought the team and installed him as the general manager -- despite a sometimes staggering lack of resources.
Omar Minaya has been given no guarantees that he will remain on board as the Expos' GM beyond this season. It will be left up to the new ownership -- if, in fact, the team is sold and relocated (and there are still many around the game who doubt one or both of those things will happen).
But Minaya wants to remain at the controls of the Expos (or whatever they will be called), and he believes he has made a strong case for himself over the past three seasons -- as the Expos finished at 83-79 in both 2002 and 2003, and are 55-74 this season.
"I'm comfortable with my record. I'm comfortable with what we've done here," Minaya said by telephone from Montreal this week. "Two seasons of [finishing above] .500 with a limited budget, and even this year -- it's been a very difficult year, but we're playing better and hopefully we can finish strong."
As Minaya points out, his regime has been characterized by hardships overcome, including starting from scratch in spring training 2002 with only a handful of employees left over from the previous ownership regime of Jeffrey Loria, operating on bare-bones scouting and player-development budgets, and playing more than 200 road games over the last two seasons as a result of MLB's decision to move 22 "home" games each season to Puerto Rico as a way to increase revenue.
"The way we've been operating this team from the beginning, it's been pretty much patched together," Minaya said. "We haven't really operated with a full scouting staff and all the things you really need in player development. My hope is to be able to continue to build what we've started here."
Commissioner Bud Selig has told associates he hopes Minaya will be retained by the Expos' new ownership, but it will not be mandated. Various ownership groups may have designs on other candidates -- it is commonly believed, for instance, that former Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken will be asked to have a role should the team come to the Washington area.
Meantime, Minaya's contract with MLB contains a provision that would give him a job in baseball's central office in the event he is terminated as GM. But he is hoping not to have to use it.
"It's been fun and a great challenge," he said. "I enjoy doing the job, even under the circumstances. Hopefully, from here on, we'll be able to build this the right way."
While it is looking as if there will be no major waiver trades made before Tuesday's deadline (in other words, Randy Johnson isn't going anywhere), the Anaheim Angels are about to receive a huge addition to their lineup with the return of slugging third baseman Troy Glaus.
Glaus, who underwent what was thought to be season-ending shoulder surgery on May 21, is in the final stages of a rehab assignment and could be activated when rosters expand on Wednesday.
The news comes at a time when the Angels were already cruising, with a nine-game winning that ended yesterday, which included a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium.
David Newhan, the hitting sensation who dropped out of the heavens into Baltimore's lap this summer, is now well into his fourth month with the team, and his batting average continues to float around .350. The longer this goes on, the more convincing is Newhan's case for belonging on a list of the league's top hitters.
It would be nice if Newhan, who arrived in the majors in mid-June, could qualify for the batting title, but it will be virtually impossible. To achieve the necessary 502 plate appearances (3.1 per each of the team's games), Newhan would have to average more than six plate appearances per game the rest of the season.
The St. Louis Cardinals are blaming Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Lloyd McClendon for getting reliever Julian Tavares suspended for 10 games for allegedly loading his cap with pine tar. McClendon, who managed Tavares in Pittsburgh last season, asked the umpires to check Tavares' cap.
"It's time for us to say something," Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa said after the incident. "It's time for us to kick and scream."
McClendon and LaRussa have a history of ill will -- such as a nose-to-nose shouting match on June 3 of this season -- making this weekend's series between the teams worth watching. . . .
Magglio Ordonez's knee injury -- diagnosed as a bone marrow edema -- has ended the White Sox slugger's season at an inopportune time, just as he is about to enter free agency. There is already talk in the industry that Ordonez -- who was asking the White Sox for $16 million a year for five years -- will now have to accept a one-year contract for 2005 in order to prove his health.