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11/05/08 10:10 PM EST
Dodgers would welcome back Maddux
Colletti open to veteran returning to LA if he doesn't retire
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
DANA POINT, Calif. -- If right-hander Greg Maddux doesn't follow through on his intention to retire, he'll be welcomed back to the Dodgers for the 2009 season, general manager Ned Colletti said on Wednesday as the second day of the General Managers Meetings wound down.
On Tuesday, Scott Boras, Maddux's agent, revealed that the pitcher had told him at the end of the postseason he was ready to call it quits.
The matter came up on Tuesday night when Boras and Colletti met for the first time this week to discuss a number of issues, including Boras' free-agent clients Maddux, left fielder Manny Ramirez and right-hander Derek Lowe. Dodgers center fielder Andruw Jones also is represented by Boras.
"That's what Scott said and that's what Greg told us at the end," Colletti said. "But he hasn't [retired] yet and I told Scott that, 'You know what? We'd love to have him back. We're not going to be closing the door on Greg Maddux anytime soon.' I've known him for a long, long time. I respect who he is and admire what he's done. And I know what an impact he has on a club and a franchise.
"Let Greg take the winter and let him figure out what he's going to do. It's not like if we don't get something finished by today we're done. That's not what we told him."
Maddux is one of 12 Dodgers players who have filed for free agency since the end of the World Series. And he has yet to file retirement papers with Major League Baseball. His contract for this season was worth $10 million.
If it comes to pass, Maddux will go out with 355 career regular-season victories, one more than Roger Clemens, who hasn't officially retired but didn't pitch this past season as he dealt with various legal issues regarding his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Maddux, eighth on the all-time wins list, trails only left-hander Warren Spahn (363) with the most victories of any pitcher since World War II and might have a legitimate chance of becoming only the third pitcher in history to reach the 400-win plateau behind Cy Young (511) and Walter Johnson (417).
But Boras said on Tuesday that Maddux probably won't be back.
"I talked to Greg at the end of the season, and he said at this point, his intentions are not to play next year," Boras said.
Boras was then asked if Maddux could change his mind before Spring Training opens in about 15 weeks.
"I don't know," Boras said. "I think he was rather definitive about his statement, and my belief from his point of view is that he will retire."
Maddux, 42, would finish his 23-year career with a 355-227 record and a 3.16 ERA, as compared to Clemens, who was 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA in 24 seasons. Maddux was 11-14 in 35 postseason games, including 30 starts, for the Braves, Cubs and Dodgers.
Colletti's relationship with Maddux goes back to the pitcher's first tour with the Cubs from 1986 to 1992 where Colletti worked in both the media relations department and baseball operations.
Unlike Clemens, who relied on a blistering fastball and, later in his career, a nasty splitter, Maddux worked the plate with offspeed pitches to offset a fastball that had much movement but little heat, especially during the past few seasons.
Maddux was best known for his 11 seasons from 1993-2003, pitching for the Braves and teaming with fellow ace starters Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Smoltz had right shoulder surgery this past season, and Glavine recently had left elbow surgery. Both could be at the end of their careers, although neither has publicly said what he intends to do next season.
If all three retire this offseason, they could be together again as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Maddux last pitched in Southern California, joining the Dodgers from the Cubs for the stretch run in 2006 before signing as a free agent with the Padres in '07. The Padres exercised their option and retained Maddux for 2008, but at the Trade Deadline, they asked him if he would move again and traded him back to the Dodgers.
Maddux was 8-13 with a 4.22 ERA for the two teams in a combined 33 starts this season. He was 2-4 with the Dodgers in seven starts after the trade and worked exclusively out of the bullpen in two postseason rounds. He made three appearances against the Cubs and the Phillies, allowing no runs on four hits in four innings.
His last big league appearance could very well have been in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series when he pitched the fourth and fifth innings in a 5-1 loss to the Phillies, allowing no runs and two hits with a walk and three strikeouts.