February 17, 2003
(Kissimmee, Florida) (AP) _ Greg Maddux agreed today to the largest one-year contract in baseball history, a 14.75 million dollar deal with the Atlanta Braves that avoided a salary arbitration hearing later this week.
Maddux became a free agent after last season, then accepted the Braves' offer of arbitration in December. He had asked for $16 million, the highest amount ever submitted in arbitration, and the Braves had offered $13.5 million. A hearing had been scheduled for Thursday in St. Petersburg.
The previous record for a one-year contract was pitcher David Cone's $12 million deal with the New York Yankees in 2000. Braves general manager John Schuerholz says , "We're delighted this issue is resolved and that we can now focus on his stature as a pitcher and his production for our team."
Maddux, 37 in April, went 16-to-six with a two-point-six-two E-R-A last season. He tied Cy Young as the only pitchers in baseball history to win at least 15 games in 15 consecutive seasons. In 2002, Maddux made $13-point-one (m) million in the final season of a $57.5 million, five-year contract.
If Maddux's case had gone to a hearing, win or lose he would have broken the arbitration record, set by outfielder Andruw Jones when he beat the Braves two years ago.