Tony Tavares was named president of the Montreal Expos on Feb. 12, 2002, by Major League Baseball, which has operated the club for the past three seasons. He still holds that position as the club moves from Montreal to Washington. Prior to joining the Expos, Tavares, 54, was president of the Anaheim Angels for six years.
GS: What are your priorities as you set up shop here?
Tavares: We're focusing on beginning to sell tickets, obtaining office space, marketing, getting a general manager who will talk with last year's manager, Frank Robinson, and some of his coaches and scouts, about staying on. We'd like to hire a general manager as soon as possible now that the World Series is over.
GS: What is your assessment of RFK Stadium as the team's temporary home?
Tavares: It's obviously not a building that was completed last year. With some renovations it's acceptable and playable for the next three years. Grading has to be done, to convert the field from strictly for soccer to baseball. The dugouts need to be enlarged, the locker rooms renovated, bullpens and fencing in the outfield must be created, and lighting improved.
GS: What kind of team will you field, since getting into the free agent market seems unlikely until the team is sold?
Tavares: We're a young, competitive team.
We need a healthy Nick Johnson at first base; Jose Vidro is an all-star at second; Maicer Izturis has good range at shortstop; we're trying to re-sign Tony Batista, who hit 32 home runs even though he's no Brooks Robinson at third; catcher Brian Schneider led the majors in throwing out runners; Endy Chavez, who has a strong arm, is good in center, Brad Wilkerson is a great defensive outfielder in left who is still developing; and Terrmel Sledge and Juan Rivera are okay in right.
Livan Hernandez led the majors in innings pitched and has guile; Tony Armas, Jon Rauch, John Patterson, Claudio Vargas, Zach Day and Mike Hinckley can all throw. The farm system was depleted, after we thought we'd be contracted. But it's better than some say, although we're trying to rebuild it.