© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2003
ATLANTA -- Greg Maddux is used to setting records. Monday, he claimed another.
The four-time Cy Young Award winner avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing to the largest one-year contract in history, a $14.75-million deal with the Braves.
The record was pitcher David Cone's $12-million deal with the Yankees in 2000.
Maddux became a free agent after winning 16 games last season, but he failed to draw much interest in the open market. He accepted the Braves' offer of arbitration in December, binding him to the team for the 2003 season.
Maddux had asked for $16-million; the Braves countered with $13.5-million.
The sides split the difference, avoiding a hearing that was scheduled for Thursday in St. Petersburg.
"Greg called me (Sunday) and told me he had indications from the team that they wanted to make a step toward settlement," said Maddux's agent, Scott Boras. "He directed me to look at that, which we did."
Maddux, who will be 37 shortly after opening day, went 16-6 with a 2.62 ERA last season. He joined Cy Young as the only pitchers to win at least 15 in 15 consecutive seasons.
WILLIAMS' SON TRIES AGAIN: John Henry Williams, son of late Hall of Famer Ted Williams, signed with the Schaumburg Flyers of the independent Northern League. Williams, 33, played briefly for the Red Sox's lowest-level minor-league team in the summer after the club said it was willing to give him a chance out of respect for his father.
RELIEVER RETIRES: Pitcher Rich Garces retired after failing to join the Rockies for the start of spring training. The agent for the 31-year-old right-hander gave no reason for the decision.
CUBS: Rightfielder Sammy Sosa, usually late for spring training, told manager Dusty Baker he would arrive at camp on time. Sosa was expected to fly into Phoenix today, the day position players are due to report, Baker said.
DODGERS: Right-hander Kevin Brown didn't show up at camp as expected, but the team said it wasn't a problem. Brown struggled through an injury-plagued 2002.
EXPOS: Right-hander Javier Vazquez went to arbitration, asking a panel to award him $7.15-million instead of $6-million.
GIANTS: Closer Robb Nen threw off a mound for the first time since having offseason shoulder surgery. The right-hander, who had 43 saves and was an All-Star last season, played long toss with trainer Stan Conte and roving catching instructor Kirt Manwaring. Left-hander Jason Christiansen also threw off the mound for the first time since ligament reconstructive surgery on his left elbow May 30. The team hopes he can return to the field June 1.
MARLINS: The team opened spring training without ace A.J. Burnett, who will miss the first couple of workouts while his arbitration case is resolved. The right-hander asked for $3.075-million this season, while the team offered $2.5-million. The hearing is today in Tampa.
PADRES: The team opened talks on a multiyear deal for right-hander Brian Lawrence, who went 12-12 with a 3.69 ERA in his second season.
TWINS: Right-hander Rick Reed and nonroster invitee Jose Cabrera were missing from the first official workout for pitchers and catchers. Reed went home to Ohio to be with a sick child, and Cabrera is having visa trouble in his native Dominican Republic.