Chicago Cubs: Recalling Greg Maddux’s second stint in Chicago
Chicago Cubs: Greg Maddux had clearly lost a step since his first stint
The 2004 Cubs were one of the biggest letdowns in team history. They collapsed in the final week of the season, Prior and Wood suffered injuries, Sammy Sosa walked out on the final day and fans witnessed the end of Steve Stone’s longtime stint as Cubs TV color analyst as tensions grew between him and the team after his brutally honest criticism on the air.
As for Maddux? Well, age was starting to catch up to him. For the first time since his first full MLB season in 1987, he pitched to an ERA and FIP above 4.00. It was also the first time since 1987 he finished with an fWAR below 3.0. He pitched to a 4.02 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 1.2 WHIP and was a 2.6 fWAR player in 33 starts. Also worth noting he gave up a career-high 35 home runs in 2004. While overall decently solid for most pitchers’ standards, it is not near what people were used to seeing Maddux doing.
He put up a fairly similar season in 2005, pitching to a 4.24 ERA, 4.06 FIP and 1.2 WHIP in 225 innings. While the ERA went up again, his FIP was lower and his overall value in terms of fWAR was higher (3.3) as well. Again, not bad but it was clear Maddux was not going to be the guy he was from 1988-2003. His 2005 season was also the first time since 1987 which Maddux posted a losing record. This was a time when people still put stock into win-loss records for pitchers, so it stuck out a bit more then.
Come 2006, Maddux was entering the final year of his deal and was approaching his 40th birthday. In 22 starts in a Cubs uniform that year he pitched to a 4.69 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 1.2 WHIP and 4.4 K/9 before being traded to the Dodgers on July 31 for Cesar Izturis. His final start as a Cub came on July 29 at Wrigley Field against the Cardinals. He threw six innings of one-run ball, giving up five hits, no walks and struck out six in a Cubs 4-2 win.
Maddux finished his 2004-2006 stint with the Cubs with a 4.26 ERA, 1.2 WHIP and 368 strikeouts in 90 starts. He did not make any All-Star games or get Cy Young votes, but he won a few more Gold Gloves. While the Cubs did not go all the way in his second stint, he did reach some big personal milestones.