TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- There's been much more talk about budget cutting than barrier-breaking contracts this offseason.
That's just what commissioner Bud Selig wanted when he agreed to a new labor deal in August.
"I really believe that we are beginning to see results of it," Selig said Thursday after addressing the general managers at their annual meeting. "I just want to wait for some time to elapse so I can give a better answer."
The new labor deal increases the amount of shared local revenue and reinstitutes a luxury tax.
Next year's luxury-tax threshold will be $117 million -- using 40-man rosters plus benefits -- and most teams are intent on making sure they remain under that number.
Even the free-spending New York Yankees are cutting their budget because of the deal that club officials estimate will result in at least $20 million more in luxury-tax and revenue-sharing payments next season.
Texas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and the New York Mets also have talked about reducing payroll.
Meanwhile, only the Philadelphia Phillies have been aggressive in the free-agent market.
"I'll be more excited about what I see than what I read," Selig said. "Until they've done it and I see it, I don't know that."
While Selig has spent several years saying that only the high-spending teams can win championships, this year showed differently: Anaheim (15th in payroll) beat San Francisco (10th) in the World Series.
In fact, none of the four teams that made it to the league championship series were among the top eight payrolls and five of the top eight spenders didn't even make the postseason.
"I understand this year that if you look at the makeup of the playoffs it was a little better," Selig said. "I'm grateful for that. I think Anaheim is the first product of revenue sharing. Revenue sharing has helped Anaheim develop and keep its players."
Selig also addressed the uncertain situation about the Expos, who survived a contraction attempt but probably won't stay in Montreal after this season.
The commissioner said the owners were close to approving a plan that would allow the Expos to play two 10-game homestands next year in Puerto Rico. That probably will be voted on at an owners' meeting next week in Irving, Texas.
"I'm optimistic the deal will work," he said. "I'm hopeful. I'm reluctant to say anything until the deal is done."
Selig also said he would like to establish a 2003 budget for the Expos within the next week or so. The commissioner's office determines the team's budget after the other 29 clubs bought the Expos from Jeffrey Loria in February.
Montreal's offseason plans are on hold until general manager Omar Minaya knows what his payroll will be. Without an increase in payroll, Minaya won't be able to keep the team intact.
Selig expects Frank Robinson to return as manager in Montreal.
Selig also addressed minority hirings, a minimum age for bat boys, potential changes to the format of the All-Star game, and the Yankees' pursuit of Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui.
Of the eight managers hired since the end of the season, San Francisco's Felipe Alou is the only minority. The Chicago Cubs are expected to add to that when they finalize a deal with Dusty Baker. None of the four finalists in Seattle are minorities.
In all, baseball will have seven minority managers after Baker is hired -- two fewer than at the end of the season. Selig has made diversity a priority, requiring teams to interview minority candidates for job openings.
"The clubs are following the memorandum to a tee," he said. "I have no complaints with anybody. It's hard to tell people who they should hire. I just want them to take advantage of the whole pool of candidates out there."
Selig said there would be an age requirement for bat boys next season, although he wouldn't predict what it would be.
That comes in response to 3-year-old Darren Baker, who was nearly hurt at home plate in Game 5 of the World Series after he ran out to retrieve a bat while the ball was still in play.
Selig also said he is in discussions about changes to the All-Star game. He was booed in his hometown in Milwaukee when this year's game was called a tie after 11 innings after both teams ran out of pitchers.
Baseball could increase roster size or encourage managers to reserve a couple of extra pitchers for extra innings.
Selig also said his office is keeping a close eye on the pursuit of Matsui, one of this year's most coveted free agents.
Four Yankees officials left for Japan on Thursday to announce a working agreement with the Yomiuri Giants. Yomiuri happens to be Matsui's former team.
Major league teams weren't allowed to negotiate with Matsui until Tuesday, but the Yankees have been in talks with the Giants much of the year.
"We have an agreement with Japan, and we will make sure it is followed," Selig said. "We continue to follow it very closely."
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