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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In December 1992 Greg Maddux left the Yankees standing at the altar

In 1992 Greg Maddux left $15 million on the table from the Yankees who had won only 76 games that year and signed with Atlanta. "The Yankees suffered another dispiriting setback in their campaign to acquire top-flight pitching tonight when Greg Maddux signed with the Atlanta Braves.

Maddux signed a five-year, $28 million contract with Atlanta, a deal that fell a staggering $6 million shy of the offer the Yankees had presented to Maddux. The final proposal to Maddux by Yankees even included a $9 million signing bonus.

Maddux becomes the game's second-highest-paid pitcher per year, behind David Cone, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Royals on Tuesday.

The failure to acquire Maddux meant the Yankees had been utterly shut out in their effort to sign -- they had hoped to stockpile -- the best pitching available in the free-agent marketplace. Cone signed with the Royals; Doug Drabek will pitch for the Astros; Jose Guzman opted for the Cubs. All had been extended offers by the Yankees. Chris Bosio and Greg Swindell, two more pitchers whom the Yankees entertained notions of pursuing, signed with other clubs, as well.

"This one hurts," said Gene Michael, the general manager of the Yankees, who did manage to trade for Jim Abbott on Sunday. "He's the best one out there. I never thought I could say this. But he's a steal at $28 million. He's a steal."...

"The acquisition of Greg Maddux gives us the most formidable rotation in all of baseball," said Atlanta General Manager John Schuerholz.

The Braves, who won the pennant in 1991 and 1992, now are equipped with a starting rotation that includes Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery. The Braves are so loaded with pitching that they traded left-handed starter Charlie Leibrandt to the Rangers within a half an hour of their Maddux announcement.

"Greg, above all, wanted to win," said his agent, Scott Boras. "The Braves offered him the most substantial degree of assurity of taking the World Series."

  • A Devastating Reversal

The signing ends months of wild, weird and occasionally bitter negotiating, which included painful relations with the Cubs and a well-chronicled and elaborate showcasing of the New York metropolitan area. Maddux saw Broadway musicals, had conversations with Donald Trump and all the while was considering what would have been the most lucrative contract ever signed by a pitcher. "It was not about using the New York Yankees," said Boras.

The Yankees, though, were devastated by the reversal. For more than a solid week, the organization had poured its energy into its courtship of Maddux. Michael traveled to Las Vegas, Nev., to play golf with Maddux and rekindle the relationship that had begun when Michael was with the Cubs in the early 1980's.

The Yankees then followed up with a proposal for five years and $30 million. In an instant it was inflated to $34 million. On Monday, Michael left the club here and traveled to New York to tour North Jersey neighborhoods with Maddux and then take the right-hander and his wife, Kathy, to dinner at the Post House

  • and a performance of "Miss Saigon."

It wasn't enough, and that fact became clear today over a stretch of six hours. The Yankees, who had been given a counterproposal of $37.5 million on Tuesday only to have Boras tell them within hours that it was not longer binding because of Atlanta's re-emergence in the picture, began today with the intent to redo their offer to make it more appealing.

The Yankees wouldn't go to $37.5, but they would, in a maneuver that followed one used by the Royals to sign Cone, offer Maddux a $9 million signing bonus.

In the end it meant nothing. Boras, who insists his client was prepared to become a Yankee after Michael's sightseeing tour, had extracted a $28 million proposal from the Braves. Maddux would not come to New York, not for the restructured $34 million or the extra $6 million it represented. Molloy's first telephone call back here came within minutes of Maddux's signing....

The Yankees finally made their pitch to the Colorado Rockies to get their third baseman back. The Yankees left Charlie Hayes unprotected for the expansion draft, and the Rockies grabbed him as the third player picked in the draft.

Today the Yankees met with Rockies officials and offered Hensley Meulens, the player the Yankees had hoped one of the expansion teams would have selected. The Rockies' response: Don't be silly, we could have drafted him.

The Rockies countered by asking for Sterling Hitchcock and Sam Militello, two impressive young pitchers, plus Russell Davis, a minor league third baseman. The Yankees said no to all three. The meeting ended shortly afterward." via Jeff Sullivan, sbnation

"The Braves had been to the World Series in both 1991 and 1992. The Yankees had won 71 and 76 games in those years, respectively. Maddux wanted to win, so he gave up guaranteed money to join a proven winner."...

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