Tag:Greg Maddux
Posted on: October 16, 2008 2:35 am
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Maddux heads home to contemplate retirement

LOS ANGELES --Among the questions in the aftermath of the Dodgers' season-ending 5-1 loss to Philadelphia in the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night:

Did we just witness, in Greg Maddux' two-inning relief performance, the final pitches in a Hall of Fame career?

Quick answer: Quite possibly, but it's going to take a few weeks -- or, possibly, months -- before we know whether to start the Hall of Fame countdown.

"I'm going to go home, I've got a golf tournament coming up, I'm going to spend some time with my family, figure out what happened this year, learn from it and move on," Maddux said.

He said he will not impose a deadline on himself for making a decision on whether or not to retire.

"However long it takes," he said. "There's no time frame."

Part of what he does in 2009 may hinge, he said, on what offers come his way this winter.

"Or what offers don't come," he said wryly. "What I decide, what I'd like to happen ... hopefully I'll get to make the decision."

For the record, Maddux fanned three, walked one, surrendered two hits and allowed two unearned runs during his two-inning stint. He pitched the fourth and fifth innings and had the misfortune to be on the mound when shortstop Rafael Furcal committed three errors in the fifth inning alone.

If he does retire, his final batter faced was Philadelphia pitcher Cole Hamels, who grounded to first base to end the fifth.

Over 23 years -- for now -- Maddux is 355-227 with a career ERA of 3.16. His 355 wins rank eighth all-time, he ranks 10th on baseball's all-time strikeout list with 3,371 and fourth all-time with 740 games started.

Oh, and one other thing: He always has been among the game's league leaders in mastering the wry, one-liner. Just one more reason why it's been a pleasure covering him all of these years.

As he folded up his uniform and stuffed his equipment into a duffel bag late Wednesday, I asked whether he was planning to take home anything special, in case this was his last game.

"Everything," he said. "I'm taking everything."

Pause.

"I'm going to leave the hangers. I've got plenty of hangers at home."

Category: MLB
Tags: Greg Maddux
 
Posted on: September 9, 2008 1:31 am
 

Crazy eight done, Dodgers need road wins

SAN DIEGO -- Turns out, Greg Maddux would pitch a meaningful game in San Diego's Petco Park in September.

Just not for the Padres.

Wasn't very meaningful for the Dodgers, either.

The 42-year-old right-hander, still looking for liftoff during his second tour in Los Angeles, lost for the third time in four decisions. But as has become their custom lately, Arizona was blistered as well -- this time by Tim Lincecum and his San Francisco Giants -- so the Dodgers could look at it this way:

Maddux simply ripped a page off of the calendar, like a guy flipping a magic number countdown board toward some milestone, like the opening of a new stadium.

The Dodgers' eight-game winning streak came to a quiet 4-0 end Monday night, and though they maintained their 1 1/2-game lead over the Diamondbacks, the night did underline a couple of key questions surrounding the first-place Dodgers:

1. Can they win enough on the road to finish the stretch run in first place? Away from Dodger Stadium, they're now 28-41.

2. Is their starting pitching built to last? Specifically, Maddux has not been much help.

Despite the eight-game winning streak, manager Joe Torre, master of the situation, briefly addressed his club Monday before the opener of a 10-game trip, warning about a letdown.

"Just a reminder that you're not going to have the same emotion, you're going to have to create that yourself," said Torre, who fielded a good-luck call from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman earlier in the day. "And let's admit it, you played a team you're chasing and you ran them down.

"I expected this, and that's why I addressed it myself. In past years, when we played big series against the Red Sox and all of a sudden you're a different team the next day."

The Dodgers, held to four hits by an unusually sharp Cha Seung Baek, sure looked different than the team that swept Arizona. Much of that was Baek.

Part of it was Maddux, who surrendered a two-run, first-inning homer to Adrian Gonzalez. In four starts for the Dodgers, he's 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA.

Monday, he was visibly frustrated with plate umpire Angel Hernandez's strike zone -- which, according to Torre, "moved around a lot."

"The strike zone was fine," Maddux said. "I was just missing. Just barely. ... You hate to tip your cap this late in the year, but you pretty much have to."

Given their road troubles, the Dodgers don't have much time to waste in figuring things out. They have 12 road games remaining, and only six at home.

The good news? Four of those road games are in Pittsburgh (and as we've pointed out, none of the Dodgers' remaining 18 games is against a team with a winning record).

But instead of moving to 2 1/2 games ahead of Arizona, Monday turned out to be a wash.

"It was an opportunity to pick up more ground," Torre said. "We need to add to our lead, as opposed to protecting it or defending it."

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 19, 2008 1:26 am
 

Padres send Dodgers a gift out west

San Diego trading Greg Maddux to the hated Los Angeles Dodgers is Exhibit A in how the grand ol' game has changed over the years.

Time was when the Padres would have rather ingested a few gallons of WD-40 motor oil than do anything to aid the hated Dodgers in their quest to win a NL West title.

Now? Whatever. The Padres primary goal now is to cut payroll -- for the rest of this year and for 2009 and, possibly, depending on owner John Moores' divorce, beyond -- and if that means helping out the Los Angeles friggin' Dodgers, well, that's just the way it goes.

And beyond that, it's simply a matter of professional courtesy: Maddux deserves far more than the Padres are able to give him, given the lousy decisions they've made and the embarrassing team they've fielded, so they figure the least they can do is place him in what could be the final pennant race of his illustrious career.

It's a move bound to help the resurgent Dodgers, who are brimming with confidence in the days since Manny Ramirez' arrival. Picking up both Ramirez from Boston and Casey Blake from Cleveland were huge boosts that have helped Joe Torre's club climb into a first-place tie with Arizona, setting up one final sprint toward the finish line.

Maddux won't have as significant of an impact as Ramirez or Blake, but he'll help. Especially if, as expected, Brad Penny is finished for the season. Los Angeles needs pitching, and Maddux, even into his 40s, remains pretty darned good at providing five or six quality innings every fifth day.

And as for the Padres? Maddux's departure simply means there's one less reason to bother watching them the rest of this season. And there weren't that many left to begin with.


Posted on: August 18, 2008 3:11 pm
 

Red Dirt and infield dirt

Slow past month for Bull Pennings, largely because I was having some significant computer issues that essentially kept one hand tied behind my back. It was all I could do to get my laptop to cooperate enough to get my regular columns written, let alone blogs and other things.

Now that I'm cruising along on my new laptop, and before the summer heat dissipates, I want to make sure to pass these comments along from … singer Emmylou Harris?

You bet. Not only does she have an incredible voice and a new disc out this summer (All I Intended To Be), not only is she still amazing at 61, but, best of all … she's all this and a passionate baseball fan.

While talking summer tour with the San Diego Union-Tribune a few weeks ago, she was absolutely charming on the subject of baseball.

"How could you not  be a baseball fan?" she asked. "It's such a great game. All I do during baseball season is watch games. I was so pumped the other night when Greg Maddux stole a base! My team is the Braves, but they don't stand much of a chance."

Harris has sung the national anthem at numerous games, and she sang God Bless America at the 2001 World Series. She's a National League fan, is rooting for the Cubs this summer and, from the sounds of it, could use a few more baseball fans in her band (Red Dirt Boys) and traveling entourage.

"We don't really have any baseball fans, except for my stage manager, who is a Cubs fan, and my road manager, who is a Red Sox fan," she said. "Unfortunately for the guys in my band, they have to sit and watch the games. As soon as the show is over, I get on the (tour) bus and watch Baseball Tonight."

Likes: The dog days of August, with fewer than 40 games to play, the stretch run right around the corner and kickoff to the college football season on deck. … The AL Central race, and the total contrast between the home run-dependent Chicago White Sox and the pesky, little-power Minnesota Twins. … I haven't heard their music yet, but I sure do like the idea of The Baseball Project. … The Brewers in a short, post-season series with CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. … Meatballs, on DVD. A blast from the past, but Bill Murray is a crack-up. … Looking forward to seeing the HBO special on Helen Thomas, Thank You, Mr. President. … Jamba Juice.

Dislikes: "Back-to-School" this and "Back-to-School" that. We need to figure out how to implement that title to the old Beach Boys album, Endless Summer. … The AFLAC goose. Or duck. Or whatever that annoying, flea-ridden bird is.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I used to rule the world
"Seas would rise when I gave the word
"Now in the morning I sleep alone
"Sweep the streets I used to own"

-- Coldplay, Viva La Vida

Posted on: July 28, 2008 8:02 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2008 11:17 pm
 

Monday's trade talk

Three days until the July 31 trade deadline, and it was mostly quiet on the talking front on Monday.

The latest:

Jarrod Washburn: The New York Yankees still have not acquired the Seattle left-hander, and though it still could happen, one source close to the talks said Monday that the Yankees appeared to veer off in other directions in their search for pitching. Talks between the Yankees and Mariners, for now, have "cooled", according to the source.

Though the Yankees would agree to pick up the remaining $14 million or so owed Washburn this year and next, it would be with the understanding that Seattle would receive only a lower-level prospect in return for Washburn. The Mariners so far have been demanding an upper-level prospect, along the lines of an Ian Kennedy. The Yankees, who don't have any upper-level pitching prospects aside from Kennedy and Phil Hughes, view that as exorbitant -- especially when they would pick up the salary.

The Mariners would like to deal Washburn -- and outfielder Raul Ibanez (the Mets, perhaps) -- but interim general manager Lee Pelekoudas is being very deliberate. His next trade will be his first, and with his job on the line, he knows first impressions are crucial.

Mark Teixeira: The Braves met internally Monday, sized up their situation, and immediately decided, it's ugly. Then they put word out to rivals that they intend to trade Teixeira.

Much as the Braves despise giving up, the decision essentially was made for them. They had to place both Chipper Jones and pitcher Tim Hudson on the disabled list, they were beaten by Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday despite scoring 19 runs ... it's over in Atlanta.

Now, shopping and actually trading, are two different things. But the Braves appear determined, and Teixeira immediately becomes the plum prize this week. Arizona already has moved into the favorite's position, especially if the Diamondbacks do agree to move Chad Tracy and a prospect.

Most difficult thing for Atlanta will be playing multiple teams against each other because, among contenders, there isn't a lot of need for a first baseman. The Mets' Carlos Delgado is playing better, the Angels are happy with Casey Kotchman, Boston has Kevin Youklis and David Ortiz, the Dodgers have James Loney, the list goes on.

Manny Ramirez: Come on. Boston general manager Theo Epstein has tried hard in past off-seasons to deal Ramirez, with no luck. If he couldn't do it over three months, is it realistic that he does it in three days? This is a team with its sights set on another World Series win -- not only can precious few teams afford Manny, but Boston is going to need pieces in return that will be at least the equal to Ramirez in lineup production.

The Red Sox may be tired of him, but they can't afford to get worse on the fly.

Gerald Laird: Texas has received several inquiries -- catchers are hard to find -- but the asking price remains high. Florida continues to troll for another catcher, and the Marlins' need has deepened in the past several hours given Matt Treanor's hip condition. Treanor is scheduled to see a hip specialist, and the Marlins are bracing for bad news.

They like Laird, but Texas general manager Jon Daniels right now is asking for a top-level pitching prospect in return. So far, that's a no go for the Marlins and others.

Greg Maddux: San Diego would like to trade both him and outfielder Brian Giles, according to sources, because the Padres right now are interested in dumping salary. So far, however, the silence on the other end of the telephone is deafening. There isn't much interest in either player.

Maddux has no-trade powers and has pitched far better than his record indicates, but his preference is to pitch for a West Coast team. The Angels are set -- odds are Maddux wouldn't approve a trade to an AL club anyway -- and the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are the only other two western clubs in contention. And they each have other needs.


 
 
 
 
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