The Expos may have moved to Washington after the 2004 season, but by my count 21 former Montreal players are still active in the big leagues. The following is a look at my all ex-Expos infield.
To qualify, players had to be drafted or signed by Montreal or have suited up for at least one game in the Expos organization. In the coming weeks, I’ll also present my all ex-Expos outfield, pitching staff and coaching staff.
Catcher: Brian Schneider (Philadelphia)
Schneider played five seasons with the Expos from 2000 to 2004. The veteran receiver recorded his finest big league season with Montreal in 2004, when he belted 12 homers and rapped out 112 hits in 135 games. He also threw out a league-best 50 per cent of baserunners trying to steal against him.
1B: Matt Stairs (Washington)
When New Brunswick native, Matt Stairs, agreed to a contract with Washington this off-season, he returned to the organization that originally signed him as a free agent in 1989. In suiting up for the Nats this season, he donned his record 13th different major league uniform. Over his 19-year career, the nomadic Canuck has also played for the Expos, Red Sox, A’s, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Phillies and Padres. Now 43, Stairs still represents a potent left-handed bat off the bench. During his career, he has belted 265 homers (second most by a Canadian to Larry Walker), including a big league record 23 pinch hit round-trippers.
2B: Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati)
Selected by Montreal in the second round of the 1999 draft, Phillips spent four-plus seasons in the Expos system, including a 10-game stint with the Ottawa Lynx in 2002. On July 27 that year, he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians along with Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Lee Stevens for Bartolo Colon in one of the most lopsided trades in big league history. After four frustrating seasons with the Indians organization, Phillips was dealt to the Reds in April 2006 and has since evolved into one of the National League’s best second baseman.
SS: Orlando Cabrera (Cleveland)
This sure-handed Colombian infielder played parts of eight seasons in Montreal from 1997 to 2004. In 2001, he won his first Gold Glove and recorded a career-high 96 RBIs. He was dealt to the Boston Red Sox in July 2004 and helped propel them to their first World Series triumph in 86 years. He has since suited up for the Angels, White Sox, A’s, Twins and Reds. This season he is manning second base for the Indians.
3B: Jamey Carroll (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Chosen in the 14th round by Montreal in 1996, Carroll played parts of three seasons with the Expos from 2002 to 2004. He was also a popular player with the International League’s Ottawa Lynx from 2000 through 2002 and is one of two players in Lynx history to have their number retired. Now in his 10th big league season, he has enjoyed tenures as a utility infielder with the Rockies and Indians and is currently the Dodgers’ starting shortstop.
Back-up infielders: Nick Johnson (Cleveland)*
*Currently on the disabled list.