Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux will apparently get a chance to pick up his 300th victory pitching for the team he started his major league career with - the Chicago Cubs.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Maddux, who has spent the previous 11 seasons with the Braves, is expected to be on hand Wednesday when pitchers and catchers report at the Cubs' spring training facility in Mesa, Arizona. The newspaper reports no formal announcement of a contract would be made, but the two sides are close to ironing out an agreement.
Last season, Maddux had a 16-11 mark and a 3.96 earned run average for Atlanta. The righthander, who will turn 38 in April, has also reportedly been courted by San Francisco and Los Angeles. He will begin the 2004 season 11 wins shy of 300 for his career and has a lifetime mark of 289-163 with a 2.89 ERA.
The news comes one day after reports out of New York surfaced that Maddux was going to sign with the Yankees, something that general manager Brian Cashman denied.
The Cubs reportedly made a two-year contract offer to Maddux in the neighborhood of $10 million a month ago, but that figure has reportedly risen by $5 million.
In December 2002, the Braves offered Maddux arbitration and he got a one-year, $14.75 million contract. This time around, the Braves weren't willing to spend that kind of money for his services.
A second round draft choice in 1984 by the Cubs, Maddux started his major league career in 1986 and played in Chicago through the 1992 season. That year he captured his first NL Cy Young honor, but announced he would become a free agent following the season due to a contract dispute.
Maddux then signed with the Braves and won a division title each year with the team, racking up several accolades along the way. A 13-time Gold Glove winner, Maddux now will have a chance to be in the same rotation with Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Matt Clement and Carlos Zambrano. Chicago's pitchers combined for a major league record 1,404 strikeouts last season.
Maddux would also get a chance to pitch for a team that eliminated him from the playoffs last year as the Cubs beat the Braves in the National League Division Series. Maddux lost Game 3 of that series when Prior tossed a two- hitter.
The move to get Maddux also means the Cubs may now be able to match their NL Central rivals, the Houston Astros, and their stocked rotation of Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, Wade Miller and Tim Redding. Houston finished a game behind the first-place Cubs in the division last year.