Alou Shuns LA, Stays With Expos

Felipe Alou, who seemed close to joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, is staying with the Montreal Expos.

He signed a three-year contract that the Expos said Sunday will make him one of the highest-paid managers.

General manager Jim Beattie and Mark Routtenberg, a member of the Expos' ownership group, met with Alou at his Florida home on Saturday.

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"The Montreal Expos are extremely happy that we can make this announcement today," Beattie said. "We are very excited that we have Felipe to guide this club when we move into Labatt Park in 2001."

Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone, speaking from his home in Los Angeles on Sunday, said the Expos told Alou they were willing to almost double whatever the Dodgers offered.

Alou's deal is believed to be about $2 million per year. Los Angeles was reported to have offered the 63-year-old manager a three-year contract worth a total of $3.5 million to $4 million.

"We're not surprised," Malone said. "He felt obligated to stay. He didn't want to be the reason for the organization not surviving in Montreal. They were laying the guilt trip on him. If he left, there was a good possibility the franchise would not survive in Montreal. He didn't want to be responsible, feel guilty about it."

Malone said Davey Johnson and Kevin Kennedy now are among a half-dozen candidates to manage the Dodgers. Last week, the Dodgers said interim manager Glenn Hoffman would be a coach next year.

Malone said Alou's choice to stay in Montreal exemplified why the Dodgers coveted him.

"Character and his loyalty," he said. "I'm happy for Felipe. I just wish him the best."

Alou's strong ties to Montreal may also have been a factor. His wife is from Montreal and he owns a home in suburban Laval.

Alou, who has managed the Expos since 1992 and has spent 24 years in the organization, was ready to leave after the season because he believed he was no longer wanted.

After an owners meeting last week at which team president Claude Brochu agreed to step down, Expos chairman Jacques Menard said a top priority was to keep Alou.

Malone spent three days in the Dominican Republic with Alou before returning to Los Angeles on Friday.

Alou became Montreal's winningest mnager on Aug. 19 when he collected win No. 521, surpassing Buck Rodgers. In 1994, Alou was honored as Associated Press Manager of the Year when he led the Expos to a major-league best 74-40 record during the strike-shortened season.

The Expos went 70-55 after Alou took over as manager on May 22, 1992. Montreal went 94-68 the next year. This season, the Expos finished 65-97.

Alou has the fifth-longest tenure with the same club in the majors behind Minnesota's Tom Kelly (12 years), Atlanta's Bobby Cox (eight), Cleveland's Mike Hargrove (seven) and Milwaukee's Phil Garner (seven).

The small-market Expos are known for developing young talent but being unable to keep it. In past years, Montreal has traded or chosen not to re-sign stars such as Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, John Wetteland and Alou's son, Moises Alou.

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