Dodgers acquire Maddux, Lugo at deadline

Updated: August 1, 2006, 6:55 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Greg Maddux came back to the Chicago Cubs and got his 300th win and 3,000th strikeout.

He couldn't, however, get them to the postseason.

Now he's leaving again, traded Monday to the Dodgers for infielder Cesar Izturis in a move that will give the 40-year-old pitcher a chance to return to the playoffs. Chicago will pay $2 million to Los Angeles as part of the deal.

"I am very surprised, to be honest with you. It came down to the last minute. I'm excited to be going to L.A., but at the same time sad about leaving Chicago. I need to try to get right with my new team and try to pitch well for them," Maddux said after shaking hands in the Cubs' clubhouse.

Maddux, who has a career record of 327-200, waived his no-trade clause to go to the Dodgers, who are in last place in the NL West, but just five games out of first.

"I was willing to waive that if the Cubs wanted to try to get better for next year," Maddux said.

The Dodgers also acquired shortstop Julio Lugo from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for highly touted minor-league prospect Joel Guzman and fellow minor-leaguer Sergio Pedroza.

"Lugo is more of an offensive player," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "We needed the offense, with [Jeff] Kent and Nomar [Garciaparra] out."

Lugo will play second base while Jeff Kent is sidelined by an oblique injury. The Dodgers will reassess his position when Kent returns.

"I'm very excited," Lugo said before leaving Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. "It's a different atmosphere over there when you're playing for something. Hopefully, we go all the way through October and the World Series."

While with Tampa, Lugo refused to play second when asked in the past and said he was "very nervous" and had a fear of being blindsided.

When asked if Lugo would make the move to second if asked, his agent, Dan Lozano, told ESPN The Magazine's Amy K. Nelson: "Julio does not have a problem playing second base. He just wants to make sure everybody understands that he's a shortstop. He's a professional, he's a team player, the Dodgers traded [for] him to play second base, that's what he's going to do.

"He has two months, he's going to go out there and perform at the highest level and hopefully help the Dodgers make the playoffs. ... [And when the season's over] then he's going to go back to playing shortstop," Lozano said.

Maddux broke in with the Cubs in 1986, left as a free agent after the 1992 season when he won the first of four straight NL Cy Young Awards and then spent 11 seasons with the Atlanta Braves before returning to the Cubs with a three-year, $24 million deal in 2004.

"I started with them and I thought I was going to end with them," Maddux said, adding that now he'll be closer to his Las Vegas home. "I look forward to going out West, a lot closer to home and maybe seeing some of my family during the season."

Maddux started the season 5-0 in April, but has won only four games since. He is 9-11 with a 4.69 ERA in 22 starts.

Maddux got his 300th win wearing a Cubs uniform in 2004 and his 3,000th strikeout the following season.

He came to Chicago with hopes that he would be part of a strong pitching staff that included Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano. But after the Cubs were within five outs of the World Series in 2003, they missed the wild card the next season as Wood and Prior began a three-year battle against injuries.

Maddux was 16-11 in 2004, marking his 17th straight season of at least 15 wins. But he was 13-15 a year ago, his first losing season since 1987.

And this season is lost. The Cubs were 18 games under .500 entering play Monday.

"When we brought him here in 2004 we certainly thought we were going to win and win big with him," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "I feel badly for him it didn't work out the way we wrote the script. But you know down the road, I'll always feel one of the best things I ever did was bring Greg back to Chicago."

Maddux was a big hit in the clubhouse with a wry sense of humor and a keen ability to break down the game, especially pitching. He served as a tutor to some of the young pitchers in the Cubs' clubhouse, especially rookie Sean Marshall.

"It's not every day you get to catch a Hall of Famer, a guy with 300-plus wins," Chicago catcher Michael Barrett said.

"I think he's still got a lot of great innings ahead of him. I think it's a good move for him, he gets to go to a playoff-contending team. He's going to have an impact there. We'll always feel the impact he made here."

Hendry said he would not rule out re-signing Maddux for next season, even though he was just 38-37 in his return to the Cubs in 90 starts.

"There is no such thing as counting him out. You'll never hear me say he's done or in decline," Hendry said. "He's already done things that are unbelievable and certainly almost impossible. Nothing he could ever do would surprise me."

Izturis was a Gold Glove winner in 2004 and an All-Star last year, then had season-ending elbow surgery in September. The 26-year-old was activated June 20 and is hitting .252 with seven doubles and 12 RBI in 32 games.

Colletti credited Izturis for his flexibility in moving from shortstop to third base to second.

"I admire how he handled the situation and how hard he played," Colletti said. "I'm glad I could place him in a place where he'll have a chance to do what he wants to do."

The Cubs plan to use Izturis at shortstop and move Ronny Cedeno to second.

As Maddux said his goodbyes Monday, his son was at his side. They often played catch at Wrigley Field. It was one of the perks manager Dusty Baker allows his players.

"I enjoyed playing here and part of me will always be a Cub," Maddux said.

Guzman, who the Devil Rays believe can become a big hitter, was sent to Triple-A Durham. Pedroza will join Class-A Visalia. The Devil Rays will also call up infielder B.J. Upton, the team's top draft pick in 2002, and Ben Zobrist from Triple-A Durham. Both will join the team on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said Upton will replace injured Ty Wigginton (broken left hand) at third base, while Zobrist will start at shortstop.

Lugo and the Devil Rays discussed a contract extension but couldn't reach an agreement.

"I love it here, I really wanted to stay," Lugo said. "I tried to get everything done. I'm not disappointed because I know both of the sides tried. I respect that."

Guzman, 21, had a .297 batting average with 11 homers and 55 RBI in 85 games at Triple-A Las Vegas. He will also get some playing time at first base for Durham.

"We feel we got a piece to the puzzle here that could be very, very significant for us going forward," Devil Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said.

Pedroza, 22, hit .281 with 21 homers and 75 RBI at Class A Columbus this season before being promoted to high-A Vero Beach. In 13 games at Vero Beach, he was hitting .154 with three homers and nine RBI.

Izturis was a Gold Glove winner in 2004 and an All-Star last year but then had season-ending elbow surgery in September. The 26-year-old was activated June 20 and is hitting .252 with seven doubles and 12 RBI in 32 games.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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