Bowden was Reds GM for 12 years

Updated: November 2, 2004, 2:19 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- It has all the trappings of a lame-duck job, but someone has to become general manager of the Washington-bound Montreal Expos.

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 anonymity.

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 10½ 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 gutsy selection."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press