Expos interview Smith for general manager job Prospect may sever ties with Padres today

October 12, 1995|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Randy Smith, who appears to be the front-runner to be the Orioles' next general manager if they fire or reassign Roland Hemond, interviewed for the Montreal Expos' GM job yesterday.

It's all part of baseball's game of musical chairs for general managers. Smith, 32, is a candidate to replace Kevin Malone, who resigned as the Expos' general manager last week. Malone interviewed Monday with the Orioles.

Smith, who would not comment last night on his Montreal interview at the behest of the Expos, could officially sever ties with the San Diego Padres today. Smith resigned as Padres GM more than two weeks ago, with more than a month left on his contract.

But Padres CEO Larry Lucchino refused to immediately accept the resignation, and during the past two weeks, he and Smith and Smith's attorney have wrangled over the final terms of his departure. Smith and Lucchino are expected to sign an agreement today, making Smith a free agent, available to sign with any club.

"It looks like we should have it resolved tomorrow, at the latest," Smith said yesterday afternoon. "I'm anxious to get it finalized and move on. I think that's best for both parties. The Padres have to move on, too."

The Orioles likely won't announce any decision on their GM and manager before the end of the World Series, because of Major League Baseball's directive against making major moves during the postseason.

If Smith is offered jobs in Montreal and Baltimore, he would be choosing between two very different opportunities. With the Expos, he would be working with a payroll in the range of $15 million, or close to what the Padres' payroll has been under his command. The Orioles have a payroll of about three times that size. More pressure, but many more resources.

Smith's choices could have a bearing on Hemond's future, both in Baltimore and Montreal. Hemond continues to be talked about as a possible candidate with the Expos, although so far, Montreal has not asked for permission to speak with him.

Last night, Hemond told the Montreal Gazette: "I feel I belong in baseball, and I can still do a good job for somebody. I've gotten a lot of calls from people within the game [about his situation with the Orioles].

"But all I can say is I'm under contract with the Orioles until Oct. 31. At this stage, I'm just waiting to see what transpires. I still feel I'm a good baseball man."

The Padres, according to NL sources, held a teleconference with Mets executive Gerry Hunsicker about possibly replacing Smith

as the San Diego GM. Orioles assistant GM Frank Robinson is expected to be considered by the Padres in some capacity, probably as an adviser to Lucchino. He will meet with Orioles owner Peter Angelos today; Hemond and manager Phil Regan already have met with the owner to discuss the organization and their status.

Tony La Russa, a candidate to replace Regan, met with St. Louis Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty on Monday. La Russa is seeking $1.5 million a year.

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