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The Greatest Game

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Maddux running out of time 

There are four teams who are interested in Maddux: Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Orioles. The Cubs are the only team with an offer on the table, but it's way less than the $10M/yr that Maddux is looking for. Greg better rub the 2000 offseason from his eyes and realize that the market is not there.

If the Cubs signed him, they'd be a shoe in for 1st place (and probably the World Series) in all the preseason predictions. They'd have a phenomenal pitching staff, but does Maddux want to go back and pitch in windy Wrigley? Especially for the amount of money they are offering him?

The Dodgers already have excellent pitching, and I can only imagine them signing Maddux (who should want to sign with LA because the large stadium would lower his stats so that he'd probably get an extra season out of his career if he pitched there, thereby increasing his already Hall of Fame worthy numbers even higher) to allow them to comfortably trade one of their other pitchers (hello Odalis) for some offense. Since there is really no offense left on the free agent market (can you say "Raul Mondesi"), the best plan for them is to sign the last good player out there and then trade from strength. I just wonder if the Dodgers can come up with the asking price.

The Cardinals need to sign Maddux so they can keep pace with the Cubs and the Astros. I think they're probably a bit desperate at this point and find that they need to sign an impact player soon. They already traded JD Drew for some pitching prospects (I admit Drew isn't all that great, but he's good for some offense, and if he's healthy, even more offense, but let's just assume he's NOT going to be healthy, since he never has been to this point), but none of those prospects will have near the impact that Maddux would have. They have a good 1-2 punch with Matt Morris and Woody Williams (again, if they can stay healthy), but they don't have much throwing the ball after those two. Their offense is excellent (Edmonds, Pujols, Renteria, Rolen, etc.), but they really need at least one more pitcher. They should try and find a way to sign Maddux, but considering there are rumors about a Pujols for Soriano type trade, one can only wonder if they can't find money for Pujols, where are they going to dig up $8M/yr for Maddux? Though I do remember reading something about Edmonds and some other players offering to defer some of the money in their contracts to sign someone (Maddux?). I can't seem to find the article right now, but if anyone has the link, send it to me, or post it in the comments).

The last team is the Orioles. They really packed in the offense this offseason, even though they missed out on Vlad and IRod. One would think that they'd have some money left over after missing those guys. But they do have one huge thing working against them. They are in the American League. I can't imagine that Maddux would switch leagues at this point in his career. He's one of the smartest pitchers around, and a lot of his talent comes from knowing the hitters he's pitching against. If he switched leagues, he'd have to start over from scratch. Of course the Orioles could offer him a contract closer to what he's looking for than the other teams, so I won't say that Baltimore isn't completely out of the question, but I think it's a remote possibility.

For what it's worth, here is my list from greatest chance of signing Maddux, to least: Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Baltimore.
# posted by shawn : 2/08/2004 06:58:00 PM -
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