Former Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs pitching icon Greg Maddux will now return to the Cubs in a new role: special assistant to general manager Jim Hendry.
Maddux will provide input in all aspects of baseball operations, including assisting in player development and evaluation, as well as helping with instruction of major and minor leaguers in Spring Training.
Maddux is one of the greatest students of the game; this is a huge move for the Cubs.
Maddux will put his astute knowledge and baseball intellect to good use in this new position, which could serve as a stepping stone for a larger role with the club in the future as an executive, coach, manager, or even general manager.
The Braves were rumored to be one of a few teams interested in bringing Greg Maddux to Spring Training this year as a special instructor.
Many in the organization had hoped to lure both Maddux and Tom Glavine back to camp in an effort to bring two of the franchise’s most storied players back into the fold.
That scenario was squashed when Maddux received a bigger and better offer from the Cubs; his new title holds much more weight and responsibility.
Many in BravesNation wonder why GM Frank Wren didn’t “up the ante” and make Maddux a similar offer to join the Braves’ front office in an effort to compete with the Cubs?
I’m sure, among other things, Wren recognized Maddux’s strong desire to remain out west near his family.
Maddux was in no particular rush to return to baseball; he has only been removed from the game for one year.
A factor that almost certainly sweetened the pot for Maddux is that the Cubs play in Arizona during Spring Training, which is a lot closer to Maddux’s Las Vegas home than the Orlando-based Braves’ complex in Florida.
From a business perspective, while it would have been great for the Braves organization in the short and long-term to get Maddux back, the assumption that Wren could have done more to make it happen is unfounded.
Chicago was just the right fit at the right time for Maddux.
Maddux began his career with the Cubs in 1986, where he won his first Cy Young Award in 1992, before leaving as a free agent to sign with Atlanta that winter.
From ’93 to 2003, Maddux pitched for the Braves where he went on to capture three more consecutive Cy Young’s from 1993-1995 and helped lead Atlanta to the playoffs every season in which he played for them.
The 355-game-winner also won his only World Series ring as a member of the Braves Championship team in ’95.
Maddux later returned to Chicago for his second stint with the club from 2004-2006 and won his 300th game as a member of the Cubs during the 2005 season.
He was traded to the Dodgers at the end of the ’06 year before retiring at the conclusion of the 2008 season with the San Diego Padres.