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Original Issue

Who's The Boss? That's the question in Montreal when it comes to making deals

Q: What if the Brewers offered pitching prospect Nick
Neugebauer, minor league infielder Bill Hall and outfielder Alex
Ochoa for Expos superstar outfielder Vladimir Guerrero?

A: Fans and the union would revolt if Bud Selig's Brewers wound
up with the Expos' best player. Besides, what good are prospects
to a team with no future?

Q: What if the Expos started 10-28 and players openly resented
Frank Robinson's old-school style? Would Robinson be fired?

A: No. Robinson has one of the most secure jobs in baseball: He
is a caretaker doing a favor for the commissioner.

Q: What if the Expos were five games out of a wild-card spot at
the All-Star break? Could they trade for the Orioles' Scott
Erickson to gain more pitching experience down the stretch?

A. Forget it. No major league owner wants to shell out more
money to enhance the payroll of a team on death row, especially
if it might cost his own club a playoff spot.

Q: What if the Mariners wanted to trade promising pitcher Ryan
Franklin to Montreal for Graeme Lloyd, filling their need for a
lefthanded reliever?

A: Such a trade might actually make sense, because it doesn't
involve a star, it cuts the Montreal payroll, and it gives a
young major leaguer a bigger role.

Q: What if the Yankees offered the package of Orlando Hernandez
and Shane Spencer for pitcher Javier Vazquez?

A: They'd be wasting their breath. Major League Baseball won't
allow Expos G.M. Omar Minaya to help the richest get richer.

--Tom Verducci

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO Let's be Frank Robinson is the field manager, but the ultimate authority on a league-owned team is an open question.