Originally created 01/15/04

Cubs trying to lure Maddux back after 11 years with Braves



CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs, who lost Greg Maddux to the Atlanta Braves in 1992, would like him to finish where he started.

The Cubs offered Maddux a two-year deal Tuesday, thought to be worth a total of $14 million to $15 million. Maddux made $14.75 million last year, his final season with the Braves.

"We've always had an interest in Greg," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "He's certainly earned the right to pitch wherever he wants. We're hopeful he'd like to come back and finish where he started."

Maddux hadn't given the Cubs an answer as of Wednesday, and Hendry said he expects the right-hander to take his time before deciding.

"We're continuing to negotiate with about four, five teams," Maddux's agent, Scott Boras, said Tuesday. "There's a possibility something can happen this week, but a lot of Greg's considerations involve meeting owners of clubs personally, and he's taking a very methodical approach to this."

The Cubs' offer to Maddux was first reported by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Herald.

Maddux is only 11 wins shy of his 300th victory, and there's nothing the Cubs would like more than for him to get it with his original team.

Fans have never forgiven the Cubs for letting Maddux go in 1992. He spent his first seven seasons in Chicago, going 95-75 and winning the first of his four Cy Young awards.

But the Cubs wouldn't pay Maddux what he wanted, and he left for Atlanta after the 1992 season.

While Maddux helped the Braves win a division title every year he was there, as well the 1995 World Series, the Cubs wallowed in mediocrity - or worse - after his departure. They've had only five winning seasons since he left, and didn't make the playoffs again until 1998.

And until Kerry Wood and Mark Prior arrived, the Cubs didn't have a pitcher who could make fans forget about Maddux. He was 194-88 with a 2.63 ERA during his 11-year stint in Atlanta, setting an NL record for most consecutive innings without a walk and becoming the poster child for consistency with his streak of 15-win seasons.

Getting Maddux would also help even out the arms race in the NL Central. Chicago has one of the best young pitching staffs in the majors with Prior, Wood, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Clement. But the Houston Astros have added some serious firepower this season, luring Roger Clemens out of retirement Monday to join his former Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte.