Greg Maddux Rumors

Boras Blast From The Past: Maddux Accepts Arbitration

Nearly three years have passed since I did an entry in the Boras Blast From The Past series, but Ryan Madson's surprising one-year, $8.5MM contract yesterday with the Reds got me thinking about whether agent Scott Boras had previously settled for a one-year contract for a top client in his prime coming off a strong season.  Madson is clearly at the top of his game, as a durable 31-year-old reliever who posted a 2.37 ERA, 32 save season.  So far I haven't found a similar situation with Boras, although the story of Greg Maddux accepting arbitration as a free agent in 2002 is an interesting one.

At age 36, Maddux hadn't won a Cy Young award in a while, but he was still very good.  In 2002 the Professor posted a 2.62 ERA, second in the National League behind Randy Johnson.  Teammate Tom Glavine, who is a few weeks older than Maddux, finished third in NL ERA and signed a three-year, $35MM deal with the Mets in early December 2002.  Later that month, Maddux made the surprising decision to accept arbitration, the equivalent of a one-year deal for 2003.

According to Murray Chass of the New York Times, Boras explained the decision by saying, "At this point in time it was a choice of venue for him.  He had multiple offers, but he really wanted to have another crack at it in Atlanta. He's confident he's going to be pitching for a long, long time and he's very durable, so working on a one-year contract won't bother him. He has some goals that he has not yet achieved in Atlanta that he wants to resolve."  According to the AP, Boras said "many clubs at the ownership level were interested" in Maddux, adding, "At this point in time, at least for this year, they wanted to return to Atlanta and give it one more shot of winning there."  Boras' choice of "they" rather than "we" leads me to believe the decision came more from the client than the agent.  After all, Boras is known for pulling rabbits out of his hat in January (Madson notwithstanding).

Despite Boras' claims, it seems possible that Maddux's market was limited.  The AP article said no other teams publicly talked about pursuing him.  Part of the problem was the recent collective bargaining agreement, which added a 175% luxury tax on the portion of teams' payrolls over $117MM in 2003.  According to SI's Tom Verducci in November of 2002, "Most teams are expected to treat the luxury-tax threshold as a de facto salary cap," and teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers, and Red Sox were anxious to avoid it.  It also appears Boras came out of the gate aggressively for Maddux, seeking a five-year deal according to Verducci.

The Braves had already planned for life without Maddux and Glavine, having acquired Russ Ortiz and Mike Hampton and signed Paul Byrd.  Maddux's decision to accept arbitration busted the Braves' budget, so the team immediately traded Kevin Millwood to the rival Phillies for Johnny Estrada.  GM John Schuerholz said, "We had no choice but to move payroll."  Seven years later, a similar situation occurred with the Braves when reliever Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration and had to be traded due to payroll constraints.  Soriano did not become a Boras client until several months later. 

Maddux seemed headed for a hearing to determine his 2003 salary, but a few days prior he split the difference between his and the team's arbitration submissions, agreeing to a $14.75MM salary.  It was the largest one-year contract in baseball history.  Though Maddux led the NL in walk rate in '03, he posted his highest ERA since 1987 in his final and most expensive season with the Braves.


Rangers Notes: Greg Maddux, Thad Levine

The latest on the defending American League Champions…

  • The Maddux move is official, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. His title will be special assistant to the GM. 
  • The Astros obtained permission to speak with Levine, according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • Greg Maddux is leaving the Cubs and may soon accept a position with the Rangers, according to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. Maddux, who worked as a special assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry last season, would join his brother in Texas. Mike Maddux, the Rangers' pitching coach, interviewed for the Cubs' managerial opening before deciding to remain in Texas. 
  • Maddux will join the Rangers, according to Grant. He's expected to evaluate and help develop pitchers during the season.
  • The Astros contacted the Rangers to obtain permission to interview assistant GM Thad Levine, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Astros have already obtained permission to speak with Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, but it seems unlikely that Friedman will leave Tampa Bay.

Odds & Ends: Maddux, Valverde, Davis, Felix

Links for Monday…

  • Press release: Greg Maddux has joined the Cubs as an assistant to GM Jim Hendry.  He'll work with the coaching staffs as well as baseball operations.  Click here for the official story. 
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Diamondbacks' interest in Jose Valverde has cooled.  The Tigers made an offer, the magnitude of which is unknown. 
  • Morosi says the Indians are not engaged in trade talks for Jhonny Peralta.
  • ESPN's Keith Law praises the Reds for adding a pitcher with huge upside in Aroldis Chapman.  He also points out that MLB's current draft setup "screws American-born players."
  • David Coleman of The Crawfish Boxes says the Astros drew a line when they designated Julio Lugo for assignment in '03 following domestic violence charges, making their Brett Myers signing seem hypocritical.
  • Free agent lefty Doug Davis is interested in joining the Nationals, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson, but Davis was told the Nats are more focused on adding a second baseman.  Davis acknowledged, "Things are kind of going slow for me because I'm fifth or sixth down the line [when it comes to] starting pitching."
  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times talks about the Mariners' need to sign Felix Hernandez long-term before the season begins.
  • Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles evaluates the Giants' Aubrey Huff signing.
  • MLB.com's Doug Miller discusses new defensive stats with experts and team officials.


Odds & Ends: Trade Deadline, Reds, Maddux

Some more links on a busy Saturday evening…

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman believes the trade deadline is "no longer even in existence" because teams can always use waivers to swap players in August:  "Guys are going to get through because people are going to be afraid to claim and get stuck with money that they can’t afford," said the GM. "And so the July 31 trade deadline is more of a fictitious one now, anyway."
  • According to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, Reds manager Dusty Baker had a meeting with his players this week to discuss the looming trade deadline.  "Dusty said… that if you continue to win, they can't remove pieces," noted trade candidate Bronson Arroyo.
  • As Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune points out, using Rich Harden and Jason Marquis as prime examples, midseason trades don't always look as sweet a year later.
  • According to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, the Braves are interested in adding Greg Maddux as a spring training pitching instructor.  Maddux worked in a similar capacity for the Padres last spring.
  • For quick updates and a bit more discussion, follow MLBTR on Twitter.  Hey, and while you're at it, go ahead and add your good buddy Drew Silva.  I'll try not to let you down.

Odds & Ends: Bergmann, Maddux, Red Sox

Some Odds & Ends to round out this Sunday morning's news:

  • Right-hander Jason Bergmann, who has an option left, is not happy that the Nationals have sent him to Triple-A, says Pete McElroy of masnsports.com. In nine games, Bergmann didn't give up a run. He had 6 K and 2 BB in 11 1/3 innings.
  • Not a rumor, but a headline of importance: Unsurprisingly, the Braves are going to retire Greg Maddux's number in July.
  • Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal praises the Red Sox shrewdness by improving their ballclub while reducing their payroll by $13MM, from fourth highest to sixth. Back-loaded extensions to key players could mean the Sox could add payroll if a marquee player becomes available this summer.
  • Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star has a short but interesting article up noting that paying for a free agent pitcher does not usually work out. It would be interesting to actually see the numbers on this. Mellinger writes,
"We looked at the 47 contracts worth $5 million or more per year signed by active players, and analyzed their innings pitched, ERA and adjusted ERA for up to three years before and after the contract. Our executive said this would be a crude but effective way to make a judgment.

"The results are brutal: Thirty pitchers regressed after signing, and only 13 improved. Four contracts were close enough to be judged either way. That’s a fail ratio of 2:1."


Odds and Ends: Maddux, Beltre, Cordero

Links for Monday…


Odds and Ends: Laird, Mitsui, Snyder

Links for Tuesday…


Odds and Ends: Michaels, Greene, Prior

Links for Saturday…


Greg Maddux To Announce Retirement

The AP passes along a message from Scott Boras’ office: Greg Maddux will announce his retirement Monday at the Winter Meetings.  5008.1 innings, 3.16 ERA, 355 wins.


Full Story | Comments | Categories: Greg Maddux

Dodgers Offer Arb Only To Manny, Lowe, Blake

The Dodgers’ numerous arb decisions are in, courtesy of MLB.com’s Ken GurnickManny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, and Casey Blake get offers.  Joe Beimel, Brad Penny, Jeff Kent, and Greg Maddux (all Type Bs) don’t.  The only real surprise here is Beimel, who earned less than $2MM this year and seemed worth the risk.