Meanwhile, a team that's already well down the road the Marlins are on found themselves in the bizarre, but increasingly common, position of celebrating a Cy Young winner at the same time as entertaining trade offers for him. Pedro Martinez was named the National League's top pitcher after dominating the league last season with a 17-8 record and 1.90 ERA. The award can only help the Expos, now little more than a Major League farm team for clubs with deeper pockets, deal Martinez to a team such as the Yankees that can afford to pay Cy Young winners to pitch for them.
The filleting of the Florida Marlins began yesterday as the world champions traded a $5 million a year contract in the person of outfielder Moises Alou to the Houston Astros for two minor league pitchers who will work for considerably less. Owner Wayne Huizenga and Don Smiley, who heads a group trying to buy the team, have pledged to slice the Marlins payroll to a lean $20 million. Enjoy that trophy, Marlins fans — its the last bit of hardware you'll see in South Florida for a while.