Wilmington Morning News - March 11, 1980

Maddox on trading block


Contract talks stalled


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


CLEARWATER, Fla. – Garry Maddox sat on a stool by his locker yesterday and talked about his goals with the Phillies in 1980. It was really nothing more than a charade because deep down, Garry Maddox knows he probably will not be with the Phils this year.


The Phillies, you see, are trying to trade the Gold Glove centerfielder. His contract expires at the end of the season. Negotiations on a new one have stalled and rather than risk losing him in the free-agent sweepstakes, he probably will be traded.


Both sides agree the odds favor that happening.


"The Pope (Player Personnel Director Paul Owens) is talking right now to American League clubs," said owner Ruly Carpenter from his home near Wilmington last night. "We have until March 15 to deal with that league. After that, we'll talk to teams in our league."


Both Carpenter and Maddox, stressed that negotiations have been amicable and even though the sides are far apart, there is no bitterness.


"Negotiations have been suspended at their request," added Carpenter. "I told Jerry Kapstein (Maddox' agent) that we had no alternative but to make a deal. There is always the chance we will not be able to trade him. The other owners are no dummies. They know if we are unable to sign him, they might not be able to sign him either."


Kapstein reported from his San Diego office: "Negotiations with Philadelphia on a contract for Maddox are at an impasse.


"The negotiations began in January 1979 and continued until March 2, 1980. We will not discuss a new contract until after the 1980 re-entry draft."


Maddox, 30, is on the final year of a five-year guaranteed contract he signed following the 1976 season. Originally, the salary called for $100,000 the first year graduating to $225,000 in 1980. When it became obvious he was underpaid compared to other centerfielders with his ability, Carpenter gave him a raise. He will earn about $375,000 this year.


Carpenter refused to talk about the specifics of Maddox' current demands, but it was learned that he is asking for a four-year package that would be in excess of the $3.2 million the Phillies gave Pete Rose in December of 1978.


The Phillies, it was learned, have offered Maddox a total package over four years in excess of $2 million.


"Our offer is extremely fair in light of today's market value," said Carpenter. Garry Maddox is certainly a quality player, but we cannot handle his demands."


"Trading me is one of their options. They have told me that," said Maddox, who has not worked out for several days because of a slightly strained back. "We have been negotiating in good faith and I can't say the Phillies have been giving me the runaround. The thing that puzzles me is that they have always given their players the money before and now they are pulling back.


"I probably will be traded, probably before the season starts. They have told me they want to reach some kind of decision before we leave spring training."


Maddox, who hit .281 last year, admits that it will tear his heart out to leave Philadelphia where he has played since the beginning of the 1975 season.


"There is no question I want to stay in Philadelphia," he said in the virtually empty Phillies' clubhouse. "I have gotten along well with the press, well with the fans, my teammates and especially the front office. You can imagine what kind of a position I am in and how it bothers me emotionally to have to do this. In the long run, I have to do what I think is best for Garry Maddox.


"The Phillies are not saying I am out of line and I am not saying they are out of line. It's just that we cannot get together. The one good thing that can come out of this is that if I leave, no one is mad. That's the best way to end a relationship."


"We have got to start entertaining the idea that we're going to have to move Garry Maddox," said Owens. "We cannot take a chance that we will lose him and get nothing in return."


At present, the Phils are attempting to see who might be available. They are hoping to land a center-field replacement and also a frontline pitcher.


Manager Dallas Green would prefer not to do it, but there is always the possibility he could move right fielder Bake McBrlde to center. That's the position McBride played before coming to the Phils from St. Louis on June 15, 1977.


If the Phils are unable to get suitable talent for Maddox, he says he will give them everything he has as long as he remains.


"I don't anticipate this thing bothering me mentally," he said. "'And I don't anticipate any pressure from the Phillies during the season – no distractions. If I stay, it is something I do not want to worry about until I become a free agent; that is what I have told Jerry Kapstein. He will not go into the front office without telling me first. We make our decisions together."


Maddox, who was hampered by nagging injuries last year, says the season was an education.


"When I came here from San Francisco, I had nothing to compare with. I was with a loser there, but we won three division championships here and I learned to enjoy the game. When we lost last year it was difficult. I thought my defense was probably the best I have played in a while, but I didn't have the kind of season I wanted at the plate. This year, I want to concentrate on being more consistent on offense."


Maddox, who has won the Gold Glove each of the past five seasons, injured his back the other day working on cutoffs and relays.


“I went to get a ball in the gap and slipped," he said. "I suffered a slight strain, but it's nothing serious.


"You know, if the Phillies stay healthy and play the way 'we' are capable of playing, we can beat any team."


The only trouble is Garry Lee Maddox probably will not be part of the 'we.'