MONTREAL — Tim Raines said Thursday it will take more than just money to get him to re-sign with the Expos.
"The dollar figure isn't everything," said Raines, who became a free agent this week. "The club I would love to sign with is the one I feel is going to win.
"That doesn't rule out Montreal, though," he said in a telephone interview from Palm Springs, Calif. "I have nothing against the city or the organization. We've had a good relationship and I would certainly play there again if things work out."
Raines, 27, hit .334 last season to win the National League batting championship for a team that finished a disappointing fourth in the East Divison, five games under .500.
He said he believed the Expos had the potential to challenge for a pennant if they could make a few off-season moves to strengthen their club.
"I thought last year we could have been in the World Series if it wasn't for all the injuries we had," he said. "But we still have to do things to get better.
"If the Expos put out a team that has a chance of winning, I wouldn't think twice (about signing).".
Raines, who has been the catalyst of the Expos offense, played last season under a one-year, $1.5 million contract awarded to him by an arbitrator. He filed for free agency on Tuesday after completing his sixth season in the majors, all of them with Montreal.
Earlier that day he was offered a $4.8 million guaranteed contract for three years by the Expos. At the same time, Montreal announced an offer to Raines' closest friend on the team, veteran Andre Dawson, of $2.2 million, guaranteed for two years.
Those offers were not final, Expos vice president Bill Stoneman said in disclosing the proposals on Wednesday, but they did not leave the club with much room to "wiggle".
Dawson's agent Dick Moss immediately rejected the offer to his client as "unfair" and said it was unlikely Dawson would return to the Expos.
"That won't have any bearing whatsoever on my negotiations," said Raines.
The fleet-footed,switch-hitting outfielder added, however, that the Expos would have to be more enticing.