By Michael Levesque
MONTREAL–Expos general manager Jim Beattie determined it was time for a change. Beattie, in the final year of a three-year extension, announced he would resign from his current duties when the contract expires at the end of October.
“It was really a personal decision that I made with my family,” Beattie said. “This job takes over your life, and I need to re-energize.
“After playing for 12 years as a pitcher and being involved in a front office for 12 years, I need some time off. As a player you get some time off in the winter. As a GM, you don’t. I don’t think I’ve had five days away from a baseball game. My kids are growing up and going away to college. I need to spend some time with them.”
Beattie, 48, joined the Expos in October 1995, following in the footsteps of Kevin Malone. He inherited a team that included pitching ace Pedro Martinez, outfielders Rondell White, Moises Alou, and Cliff Floyd as well as closer Ugueth Urbina. Under financial pressure, he was forced to deal all of them away, and in the process managed only one winning season during his tenure.
A Dartmouth graduate, Beattie indicated he has no immediate plans other than to spend time with his family, but his name has been linked to the athletics director job at his alma mater.
“I am not retiring. I’m just stepping back for a period of time, which may be a few months to a year.” Beattie said. “I intend to dive into something else in the future. I thank the Expos for giving me the opportunity to lead this organization and to be able to work with some wonderful baseball people over the last six years.”
Before joining Montreal, Beattie spent the previous six years with the Mariners as director of player development, where–among others–he oversaw the development of all-star shortstop Alex Rodriguez. Beattie pitcher nine seasons in the American League with the Yankees (1978-79) and Mariners (1980-86), appearing in 203 games. He played an essential role in the Yankees 1978 World Series title.
“Jim has worked tirelessly for this organization,” said Expos executive vice president David Samson. “His reputation as a first-class general manager is now augmented by his reputation as a first-class family man. Whether you think of him as a good GM or not, agree with his moves or not, the one thing no one has ever questioned is his integrity and his professionalism.”
The leading candidates from within the organization to replace Beattie–assuming the Expos aren’t contracted–are vice president and director of international operations Fred Ferreira, and director of professional scouting Michael Berger.
Ferreira, who has been with the organization for ten years, is renowned for mining talent out of Latin America. He is responsible for the signing of current Expos stars Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Vidro, Orlando Cabrera, and Javier Vazquez.
Berger, a former minor leaguer in the Expos system who played alongside Larry Walker and Randy Johnson, has close ties to owner Jeffery Loria that date from when Loria owned Triple-A Oklahoma City.