New Dodger Maddux ready to pitch in

New Dodger Maddux ready to pitch in

LOS ANGELES -- With 40 years on the clock and four Cy Young Awards on the mantle, Greg Maddux could be looking forward to tee times and induction ceremonies.

Instead, he's looking forward to helping the Dodgers turn around this season, and possibly more to come.

"Absolutely," Maddux said when asked if his trade Monday from the Chicago Cubs for infielder Cesar Izturis could last longer than just two months. "They traded for me -- they must see something in me. I'll try to make the most of the next few months. I would think I'd want to play next year. I'm not 100 percent decided, but mentally I feel great."

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, a front-office official during Maddux's first tenure with the Chicago Cubs, has eyed a reunion ever since he took over the Dodgers last November, and had been scouting Maddux throughout this season.

Colletti was candid about exactly what Maddux, a 327-game winner and future first-ballot Hall of Famer, still has -- and what he doesn't have, considering a 9-11 mark this year with a 4.69 ERA.

"He's not what he was when he was winning Cy Young Awards, but he'll still keep your team in the game," said Colletti. "He's one of the smartest players I've ever been around. He'll figure out a way."

Colletti said Maddux -- an eight-time All-Star and 15-time Gold Glove winner -- can be as helpful in the clubhouse as in the starting rotation.

"He's obviously one of the best pitchers in the game for a long time, and he brings the ability to start, and to help us in the clubhouse with young pitchers like Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton -- and even the veterans," said Colletti.


"I've always loved L.A. -- the stadium, the atmosphere. I look forward to spending more than three games there."
-- New Dodger Greg Maddux

Maddux, coming from a club that's 16 games out of first place to one that's just five behind San Diego, said he considers his chances to reach a 12th postseason appearance pretty good.

"Absolutely, only five games out with a lot of baseball left," he said. "There's plenty of time to make up five games. I look forward to the opportunity."

The Dodgers will receive $2 million from the Cubs to help defray the $3 million remaining on Maddux's $9 million salary before he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Colletti gave up a Gold Glove shortstop in the deal, a late switch after talks throughout the weekend focused on young prospects.

The Dodgers received not only one of the most accomplished pitchers of his generation, but one universally praised as a person.

"Greg's probably the finest pro I've been around in years and years," said Cubs manager and former Dodger Dusty Baker. "He's a man. He comes to play, he comes to pitch, he comes to help. I was hoping [a trade] wouldn't happen. It appears it was inevitable. We got a fine player in Izturis.

"I'm happy for [Greg]. He's closer to home. He's got a legitimate chance to go to the playoffs."

Maddux grew up in Las Vegas, but his military father was stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside County, and the first Major League game he saw was at Dodger Stadium in the 1970s.

"I knew all of them -- [Steve] Garvey, [Ron] Cey, [Davey] Lopes, [Bill] Russell," Maddux said of the team's stars of the 1970s. "I've always loved L.A. -- the stadium, the atmosphere. I look forward to spending more than three games there."

Maddux said he gave the Cubs "a very short list" of teams for which he would waive his no-trade clause, and that the Dodgers not only were on the list, but "I thought there was a chance to go there in the past," apparently a reference to negotiations in 2004, before he signed with the Cubs.

"I am very surprised, to be honest. It came down to the last minute," he said. "I'm excited to be going to L.A., but at the same time, I'm sad to leave Chicago. I'm going to try to be right with the new team and try to pitch well for them."

Scouts have suggested that Maddux will be more effective at Dodger Stadium, long known as friendlier confines for pitchers than Wrigley Field.

"Hopefully, it will be better, but you still have to locate and change speeds," he said. "Whether it's Wrigley with the wind blowing out or Dodger Stadium, it comes down to the pitches you make, not where you're pitching."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.