Reading Eagle - April 15, 1980

Maddox OKs Fat Contract

 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Outfielder Garry Maddox has just signed a five-year, multi-million-dollar contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Associated Press learned today.

 

A source said Maddox’ contract had been sent to the National League office in New York for approval.

 

The Phillies are expected to announce the agreement, probably Wednesday, in St. Louis, where they are playing the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

While there were no official figures, it is believed the gold-gloved centerfielder will receive in the neighborhood of $700,000 a year.

 

Maddox, through his agent Jerry Kapstein, has been negotiating with the Phillies since January 1979.  During the recent spring training, the player and the club announced that they had reached an impasse and that he would play out his option and become a free agent at the end of this season.

 

Paul Owens, the Phillies’ personnel director, said at that time he might have to trade Maddox.

 

“I’m not going to lose him for nothing,” Owens said, referring to the amateur draft choice the Phillies would receive if they lost Maddox in the reentry draft.

 

Maddox, however, who has settled in the Philadelphia area and admittedly does not want to leave, had Kapstein reopen negotiations in Florida with Phillies’ owner Ruly Carpenter.

 

At the time of the announced negotiating impasse, Maddox reportedly was asking for $1 million per year for five years.  He denied that figure.

 

Maddox did say, however, that the Phillies told him he was worth what he was asking for but that they weren’t going to pay it.

 

Only last week, Owens said that he expected to get permission from Carpenter to make a serious effort to trade Maddox, indicating that they were still too far apart to reach an agreement.

 

Last season, he hit .281 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI.

 

 

SportopicS:  Big Questions On the Phils

 

By John W. Smith

 

A lot of people have soured on the Philadelphia Phillies’ pennant chances because of the question marks about the starting pitching.

 

It’s certainly tough to be optimistic when, of the corps of five, one guy has to go on the disabled list to start; another, with an injury history, gets hurt again in a spring game, and two others, one coming off an operation, sport spring ERAs of well over 7.

 

However, there is reason to believe that Larry Christenson and Dick Ruthven can successfully bounce back from their troubles of last year, and that Randy Lerch can at least have an adequate season.

 

After all, Ruthven won 15 games two years ago, Christenson won 19 three years ago, and Lerch has won at least 10 games the last three years.  There could be real optimism if Nino Espinosa, 14-game winner last year, were not disabled.

 

A key will probably be whether Dickie Noles can step in to the rotation successfully.  And the key there could be whether Danny Ozark’s or Dallas Green’s view of the worth of Noles’ breaking stuff is closer to the truth.

 

The bullpen is also questionable after last year, but relievers have a habit of bouncing back from a sub-par season, so with better handling than in ’79 things could be all right there.

 

Three Must Return

 

For the Phillies to win, Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa and Bake McBride must return to the hitting form they showed in ’77 or ’78; Pete Rose must hold his own at age 39, and Manny Trillo must avoid his second-half slump.  There should be a good chance of all that happening.

 

At least, Luzinski, McBride and Rose have had great springs, and Trillo may hold up in his second season freed from the Wrigley Field hothouse.

 

The other big question is how well the Phillies can avoid injuries; ailments figured in those sub-par years.  They could stand one at four positions because of their bench, but they’ll be hurting defensively if Bob Boone goes out behind the plate again.

 

And because of the lack of a proven replacement, they could be in real trouble if Schmidt, Bowa or Trillo is laid up for any time.

 

Then they’ll really miss Jim Morrison, whose give-away to the White Sox last year still rankles Green.  Morrison hit .275 with 14 homers in just a half-season in the American League last season.

 

All in Same Boat

 

There’s one big reason why the Phillies appear to have as good a chance as anybody to win the N.L. East – everybody else has starting pitching problems, too.

 

Take the Pirates.  With Kison gone and Robinson and Rhoden ailing, they’ve got only three starters they can count on – Bibby, Blyleven and Candelaria.  And Candy has periodic back problems.  The rest of the staff combined for two complete games in the majors last year – Jim Rooker and Andy Hassler each had one.  (Rooker, 37, won only four games last year, but he did look good Sunday.)

 

The Expos have a good starting four, but one, Dave Palmer, spent 1978 in the Florida State and Southern leagues, so he would still have to be a bit of a question even if he hadn’t been forced to miss the entire Grapefruit season.  And Scott Sanderson was only 9-8 last year.  The Expos lost 10 wins each when Rudy May went free agent and Dan Schatzeder went for Ron LeFlore.  So for a fifth starter they have to look to Fred Norman, who’ll be 38 in August, and Ross Grimsley, who had a 5.36 ERA last year and a 7.20 one this spring.

 

The Cardinals have a good four-man rotation, too, but one is sophomore John Fulgham, who like Palmer was in AA in ’78.  And another is Silvio Martinez, who disappeared after the strike was called.  A fifth starter?  The best the Redbirds have is Bob Sykes, coming off a shoulder ailment and a 6.18 ERA, with no complete games in ’79.  John Denny, No. 5 last year, has gone to Cleveland.

 

All four contenders have solid offensive teams, except for Montreal in the middle of the infield.  St. Louis has the weakest bullpen of the group.  If Mark Littell can shake off his elbow problems and if he gets some help, the Cardinals would be a good choice to win the East.

 

I like their chances, even if the baseball writers did pick them fourth in their annual poll behind the Pirates, Expos and Phils (though the Expos got the most first-place votes).

 

But there, again, are a couple of very big “ifs.”