Did L.A. Error in Letting Maddux Slip Away?

An article by Tim Keown in ESPN the Magazine pointed out how valuable the one-time Dodger pitcher Greg Maddux was to a team and how he helped Brad Penny during Maddox's two months with Los Angeles:

"When Brad Penny and Maddux were teammates on the Dodgers, during the last two months of 2006, they had a conversation one day that led Penny to reach a stunning conclusion: This guy knows my stuff better than I do. It was eerie, really, how easily Maddux dissected Penny's repertoire and suggested ways to maximize it.

"Penny, figuring he'd take advantage of the situation, asked Maddux to call a game for him against the Cubs. And so, on the night of Sept. 13, Penny glanced into the dugout before every delivery and found Maddux, who signaled the next pitch by looking toward different parts of the ballpark. Penny threw seven scoreless innings with no walks and beat the Cubs 6-0.

"Maddux probably won't tell you that story," Penny says. "He's right."

Maddux was not re-signed by the Dodgers in 2007, amid much talk he was "a five-inning pitcher," and despite the fact that he topped nine others on the staff and was second only to Lowe on the team in innings per start. 2006 Innings per start:
	        st	inn	IPS	
Lowe	        34	215.0	6.32
Maddux	        12	73.2	6.10	
Kuo	         5	29.1	5.86
Penny	        33	188.1	5.72
Sele	        15	84.0	5.60
Tomko	        15	82.6	5.51
Stults	         2	11.0	5.50
Billingsley	16	86.1	5.39
Hendrickson	12	64.1	5.36
Seo	        10	49.2	4.92
OPerez	         8	38.0	4.75
  Totals        162	922.6	5.70
He had an imperceptible drop-off in 2007 with San Diego, lasting 5.82 innings over 34 starts and recoding a 14-11 record with a 4.14 ERA. So far in 2008 he has started three times, has pitched an average of six innings and has a 2-0, 2.00 ERA.

The Dodgers offered him a one year deal and he signed instead with the Padres for $10 million and an $8 million option in 2008 with incentives. Perhaps he wasn't signed by the Dodgers because of the ongoing feud between Dodger GM and Scott Boras, Maddox's agent. Perhaps it was felt the cost and the length of contract was was too high for a pitcher of that age, although L.A. spent much more searching for someone else.

No matter what the reason, it seems $10 million would have been a rather cheap investment considering the club scrambled all year to find a fifth starter and for the second half of the season to find a fourth starter after Randy Wolf went down.

With his record, the 2007 edition of Maddux would have been first on the Dodgers in starts, third on the team in innings pitched and second in wins. Plus, it would have deprived the Padres of 14 wins. Innings per start in 2007:
	 2007 starts 	   inn	IPS	record
(Maddux	         34	141.0	5.82  14-11)
Penny	         33	208.0	6.30	16-4	
Lowe	         32	198.1	6.20	12-14	
Wolf	         18	102.2	5.67	9-6
Billingsley	 20	112.0	5.60	8-5	
Wells	          7	38.2	5.52	4-1
Tomko	         15	79.1	5.29	2-9
Hendrickson	 15	76.1	5.09	3-7	
Stults	          5	25.1	5.02	1-3	
Kuo	          6	28.0	4.67	1-4	
Loaiza	          5	22.2	4.53	1-4	
Schmidt	          6	25.2	4.28	1-4
 totals	        162	917.0	5.66	
His remarkable pitching mind would be of endless benefit to a team's pitching staff and particularly to any young pitcher who is willing to listen.

In the case of Maddux, keeping him would have given "Thinking Outside the Box" and entirely different meaning.

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