Maddux joins Cubs as assistant to GM
Ex-pitcher embraces new role to tutor young players
CHICAGO -- Greg Maddux is back in baseball and back with the Cubs.
The team on Monday named the 300-game winner as an assistant to general manager Jim Hendry. Maddux, a four-time Cy Young Award winner, will now assist the Major and Minor League coaching staffs in Spring Training, help in the development of Minor Leaguers during the regular season and aid Hendry and the baseball operations department in talent evaluation.
"I'm looking forward to learning things about the game that I never thought I had to learn, and at the same time, trying to pass down what I've learned the last 20 years to the players who will play hopefully for the next 20 years," Maddux said.
Maddux had a couple of invitations from teams to go to their Spring Training camps, but he said he wanted to do more than throw batting practice for a couple of weeks. Hendry approached Maddux about the assistant's job a couple of months ago.
"We're thrilled to have Greg back with the Chicago Cubs," Hendry said. "He has such a vast knowledge of all phases of the game and the ultimate respect of everyone from the players to the front office. The addition of Greg Maddux makes us a better organization."
The Cubs retired No. 31 last May in honor of Maddux and Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins in ceremonies at Wrigley Field. However, if necessary, Maddux will bring it out of retirement.
"I'm looking forward to working my way back into the game and am happy that the Cubs have given me the opportunity to do that," Maddux said. "I started my career with the Cubs, and Chicago has always been the best place in the league to play. I'm eager to do whatever I can to help the organization and am looking forward to getting started at Spring Training."
Maddux retired from baseball in December 2008 as the eighth-winningest pitcher in the history of the game with 355 victories, 133 of which occurred during his 10 seasons with the Cubs. He won the first of his Cy Young Awards with the Cubs in 1992, when he went 20-11 with a 2.18 ERA.
Adding Maddux may be the biggest offseason acquisition for the Cubs.
"As I've always said about him in the past as a player and now as an employee, when Greg Maddux walks in your front door, your organization becomes a lot better that day," Hendry said. "He's certainly a tremendous asset for us today."
Maddux said he doesn't have aspirations to manage or be a pitching coach right now. He talked to his brother, Mike, the pitching coach with the Texas Rangers, before making a decision.
"[Mike] said it's a good opportunity and a way to get back in the game and see what the other side is like," Greg said. "I'm looking forward to it. My brother's always been a few years ahead of me in the advice department. He's always nice to lean on."
The new job will still allow him quality time with his family.
"There's a lot of room to maneuver in this job," Maddux said. "I'm not going to be putting the time that the coaching staff puts in or Jim himself. I will have time to get away and try to balance the two together. I love baseball and the game, and I'm looking forward to getting back in it. I'm going to do what I can to balance work and home life as well as I can."
Both the instruction and the talent evaluation are new to Maddux, although if you ask any player who was his teammate, they'll tell you they learned a lot sitting next to the right-hander on the bench.
"This is something new for me," Maddux said of his new role. "I was lucky enough to play for a while, and I had a lot of very good coaches over the years. There are things I was taught by my coaches that I can pass down to the players today and that's what I'm going to try to do.
"I'll learn how to evaluate players as best I can. I'm sure there's a system that goes along with that, and hopefully, I'll have an eye for it and be able to evaluate players properly."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.