WASHINGTON -- It has all the trappings of a lame-duck job,
but someone has to become general manager of the Washington-bound
The task will fall to former Cincinnati general manager Jim
Bowden, who was introduced as Washington's GM on Tuesday.
"I am honored and excited to lead the Expos' baseball
operations during this very important transition period," Bowden
said. "I look forward to helping the organization build an
eventual championship-caliber team."
Bowden will oversee offseason trades and signings for a team
that will move to the nation's capital next season if the local
government approves funding for a new ballpark. He replaces Omar
Minaya, who resigned during the final week of the regular season to
become general manager of the New York Mets.
Bowden might not have the job for more than a few months. The
Washington team, owned by the 29 other major league clubs, is for
sale and at least two dozen potential buyers have shown interest.
Although Nov. 1 had been set as a deadline for expressing interest,
baseball officials say they will continue to accept feelers from
potential owners for another week or two.
Once the sale is completed, which isn't expected to happen until late in
the offseason or early during the regular season, the new owners
might hire their own front-office personnel.
"You'd have a different set of applicants if somebody thought
they were going to be the GM here for the long haul," said team
president Tony Tavares, who collaborated with the commissioner's
office on the decision. "Having said that, you could do a lot, lot
worse that Jim Bowden as your GM. I am very pleasantly surprised
that he's willing to do this on an interim basis.
"And my view is, if Jim does a great job, a new owner's
certainly going to give him consideration going forward about
continuing in the job."
Major League Baseball originally had targeted Bob Watson,
baseball's vice president of on-field operations, for the general
manager's job. Watson turned down the offer because he would have
been paid the same salary he's currently making, according to a
major league team official, who also spoke on condition of
Bowden was the youngest general manager in major league history
when he took the position with the Reds in 1992 at age 31. The Reds
made the playoffs only once during his 10˝ seasons in Cincinnati,
when they advanced to the NL championship series in 1995.
Bowden promised a winner when the Reds moved into a new ballpark
in 2003, but he was fired midway through the season with the team
12 games under .500.
Bowden's biggest move came in February 2000, when he traded for
Ken Griffey Jr.
"I think this is a guy who is as sharp a trader as there is in
recent years," agent Tom Reich said. "I think it's a good and