Jack Morris to the rescue?
Well, not so much.
With so many injuries to the pitching staff, the Expos tried to plug some holes through free agency, signing veterans David West and the 41-year-old Morris on June 9. We are now in July and the Expos have fallen to 16 games behind Atlanta in the East standings. At 37-42, Montreal is still in third place.
Felipe Alou has David West in the starting rotation where he is 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA. Jack Morris, meanwhile, is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA as a long reliever.
Montreal has also slipped back in the Wild Card race – 12 games behind Houston. Philadelphia is six back, followed by San Francisco at 10 1/2 and San Diego at 11.
There is little help available on the horizon to make a run over the next three months of the season. Marquis Grissom (.329 in 155 at bats) is back in the lineup after missing six weeks with a partially torn labrum. He has been extremely fragile since signing back with the Expos during the offseason, sitting out two weeks in May with a quadriceps strain, then missing another week after aggravating the injury.
By the time Carlos Perez and Matt Ruebel return to the pitching staff, it could be too late. Both were having solid seasons – Perez at 3-9 but with a 2.79 ERA and Ruebel with a 2.76 ERA in 32 innings that included one save – but Perez isn’t due back for five months and Ruebel is likely to return in early September.
Doctors don’t expect Pedro Martinez to return to health for another 11 months and Rondell White is still out for an expected six months.
I took over this team to keep it together, not to dismantle it. So, I’m thinking of standing pat for now and looking to add a few free agents in the offseason. The trades I made earlier in the year are paying off, highlighted by Herbert Perry, who leads the Expos a .318 average since his arrival from Cleveland.