4-time Cy Young winner looks to NL west

LAS VEGAS --Greg Maddux didn't expect Atlanta to offer him salary arbitration for a second consecutive year, but he said he did expect the Braves to make some sort of attempt, however paltry, to retain him.

"I was hoping to maybe get some kind of offer, even if it was a
low one ... anything," Maddux said Monday. "But, you know, that
didn't happen. So now I just have to look to play somewhere else."

Maddux acknowledged that he and agent Scott Boras have had some
discussions with some teams, but Maddux, who has 289 career
victories, declined to reveal those teams' identities.

Speculation around the game points to San Diego, where Maddux is
building a second home, and St. Louis as excellent suitors for
Maddux, who despises American League baseball -- because pitchers do
not hit -- as much as he dislikes publicly discussing personal

"I don't think you negotiate contracts through the press," he
said by telephone from his home in Las Vegas. "I don't like to do
that. It's weak and it's tired, not very professional."

Maddux said he was trying to decide where he could enjoy playing
and where he would have a chance to win.

"To combine those two would be great," he said, "but free
agency is all about location and finding a place where you can win.
There's no substitution for winning ... you just hope you can find
a team that would like to see you win your 300th game."

Maddux did not deny that pitching on the West Coast is an
obvious attraction for him.

"I don't know what teams are willing to do," he said. "There
has been some interest from some teams, but we have to wait and see
what happens. I don't really want to talk about it, because I don't
feel that's the way it should be done.

"Whatever I say to a team or a team says to me, I think, should
stay between me and the team. When it's all said and done, whoever
I do play with, then we'll talk about it."

Drafted in the second round by the Chicago Cubs in 1984, Maddux,
37, went to Atlanta as a free agent after the '92 season. He was
194-88 in 11 seasons with the Braves, for whom he won three of his
four Cy Young Awards.

With exceptional talent, especially on the mound, the Braves won
only one World Series in Maddux's tenure with the team.

In 2003, he became the first pitcher with at least 15 victories
in 16 consecutive seasons when he went 16-11. Cy Young had recorded
15 seasons in a row with at least 15 wins.

Maddux lost what proved to be his final start as a Braves
pitcher in the playoffs, in a 3-1 defeat to the Cubs at Wrigley
Field on Oct. 3. Maddux lasted six innings, yielding six hits and a
walk, striking out one.

Mark Prior went the distance for Chicago, which defeated Atlanta
in that series and eventually lost to the World Series-champion
Florida in the next round.

"There weren't a lot of people who picked us to win our
division, but we won more than 100 games last year and the team won
another division title," Maddux said. "We had a lot of success.
As far as the postseason, we ran into Prior and (Kerry) Wood.

"As much as you would have liked to have moved on and had a
chance to play the Marlins in the next round, we still had a great
year. I'm proud of what my team accomplished."

Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz revealed Monday morning
that he was surprised when Maddux accepted the team's offer of
salary arbitration a year ago, a decision that led to the Braves
not making the same offer recently to slugger Gary Sheffield.

A year ago, it also led to Atlanta cutting ties with young ace
Kevin Millwood, because the record $14.75 million, one-year deal
that both parties settled on for Maddux made Millwood unaffordable.

Schuerholz also discounted Maddux's contention that he would
have appreciated any offer from Atlanta over the last week or two.

"Based on my conversations with Greg and (Boras)," Schuerholz
told MLB.com, "they made it clear to me and us that their
expectations and desires were significantly higher than we were
willing to offer."

Maddux declined to protract that drama, instead thanking the
Braves front office, manager Bobby Cox and the legion of baseball
fans in and around Atlanta who supported him.

"I can't get upset with the Braves," he said. "They gave me
11 great years of baseball, paying me as well as anyone will pay

"I had a chance to play for the best manager in baseball for 11
years, too. I don't think there are many players or people who
could enjoy playing or working for their boss like I did. I was
privileged to play for Bobby Cox as long as I did."

Maddux said he has no timetable for making his next decision.