Philadelphia Inquirer - November 15, 1980
Undrafted, McGraw comes to terms with rejection
"In my career," says Tug McGraw, "nothing routine ever happens. Things always seem to be weird."
Not one team selected McGraw in Thursday's baseball re-entry draft. Yet McGraw, whose relief pitching (20 saves, 1.47 ERA during the regular season) was a key to the Phillies' winning their first world championship, insists he's not disappointed.
McGraw told the Associated Press yesterday that he believes other clubs have the impression he doesn't want to leave Philadelphia, that he'll eventually come to agreement with the Phillies, and didn't want to waste a draft choice on him for those reasons.
"I think other owners didn't draft me because they felt they had little hope of signing me," McGraw said.
The genial lefthander said the re-entry slight didn't change his negotiating approach with the Phillies one bit. He's still asking for a four-year contract, reportedly at $250,000 per season.
McGraw, 36, said he was prepared to go out and negotiate with any of the 26 clubs interested in talking, but that his bottom line was to remain in Philadelphia, if possible.
Typically, McGraw maintained his keen sense of humor despite the re-entry debacle.
"I fell out of a tree and broke my left elbow," he jested upon hearing he hadn't been selected Thursday.
McGraw said that he and the Phillies were in the "same ballpark" monetarily. "We differ in the psychological approach to negotiations," McGraw explained, describing this "psychological approach" as involving his playing position, length of contract, and his age.
Apparently, the Phillies feel 36-year-old relievers seeking four-year contracts are a poor risk compared to everyday players. They probably are willing to meet the pitcher's financial demands, but over a shorter term of contract.
McGraw admitted that even if other teams – and he rattled off such names as the New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers – offered him $200,000 or $300,000 more than the Phillies he would sign with Philadelphia.
But since no team drafted him, what makes McGraw think he could get elsewhere even what he was asking the Phillies?
"I could get it today. I know. You can book it," McGraw said.
"But I wouldn't sign with another team for the same amount I can get from Phila delphia," McGraw noted. "It would take a lot more to get me to move."
Suppose he can't come to terms with the Phillies?
"If not, then I would take one of the other offers," McGraw replied. "I'd have to do what's best for me and my family."
McGraw said the reasons why the club is offering him what it is proposing are more discouraging to him than the actual offers.
"The Phillies certainly are the club I'd want to stay with, if possible, if they come up with a reasonable offer," McGraw said. "Outside of that I'm a baseball player. I'll play anywhere."