Smoltz, like Maddux, turned down Yankee dollars


At this point it’s common knowledge that Greg Maddux turned down Yankee money to sign with the Braves. The Yankees had offered five years at $34 million in the winter of 1992-93, the year after Maddux had won the Cy Young award with the Cubs. Instead he signed a five-year, $28 million deal with Atlanta. That’s $6 million, or 18 percent, less than what the Yankees offered. This would be akin to CC Sabathia having signed with the Giants for seven years and $132 million.

These types of stories are the types you don’t hear often. After all, it’s about the money, stupid. Yet yesterday, via MLBTR, we learned of one more such incidence. This involved another Brave, John Smoltz, who turned down $53 million Yankee dollars to sign with the Braves for $30 million. Looking through Cot’s, it appears Smoltz refers to the three-year, $30 million contract he signed after the 2001 season. It’s understandable why the Yankees would have wanted him at that point.

Then again, it’s easy to forget that Smoltz had been having trouble with his shoulder in 2001 and had been moved to the bullpen. He started just five games that year and finished 20, logging just 59 innings in the process. Perhaps the Yankees wanted to give Smoltz another try in the rotation. That would be the only way this would have made sense. The Yankees already had the best closer in baseball, who was coming off yet another sub-1.00 WHIP season. Smoltz would have gotten a chance to close, as Mariano missed some stretches, including from August 15 to September 15. Obviously, no one could have known that at the time, which is why Smoltz turning down the money made sense. That is, if the plan was for him to pitch in the bullpen.

Instead, the Yankees signed David Wells to shore up their rotation, and were rewarded by him going 19-7 with a 3.75 ERA. They also nabbed Steve Karsay, who pitched well in his first season and wound up being the one filling in for Mo. That, however, was essentially it for Karsay’s career.

Smoltz had a $12 million club option for 2005, which the Braves were apparently going to decline. Did the Yankees come knocking again? I’m sure they did. That was the winter of Carl Pavano and Randy Johnson. Smoltz wound up signing a two-year, $20 million contract with an $8 million option for 2007. The Yankees surely could have, and more than likely would have, topped that. That year Smoltz transitioned back to the rotation and pitched 229 innings of 3.06 ERA ball. The Yanks sure could have used that in 2005.

What makes this story odder is that Smoltz turned down less money from the Braves, $2 million, to pitch for the Red Sox and their $5 million this year. Why the change of heart? Was Smoltz finally fed up with taking the ATL discount? Or did he not see the Braves making much noise this year? Dude’s 42 years old. Surely he wants one more crack at the title. It’s a shame he didn’t come to New York when he had the opportunity. He might have brought home another one a bit earlier.

Categories : Days of Yore


  1. kSturnz says:

    maybe he only takes discounts? anti-establishment!

  2. Stryker says:

    Surely he wants one more crack at the title. It’s a shame he didn’t come to New York when he had the opportunity.

    maybe it’s just me but sometimes i get the feeling the yankees and their fans have a sense of entitlement – that everyone wants to be a yankee at some point in their career. yes the yankees are a great organization with one of the most storied histories in the sport but obviously as we’ve seen with maddux and smoltz this is not the case – and i’m fine with that.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      Maybe it was more of the fact that he couldn’t grow a douchebeard with the Yankees.

    • AndrewYF says:

      That’s not a sense of entitlement, it’s a statement of fact. If indeed Smoltz wanted another championship, it’s a shame for him he didn’t go to the Yankees, because he very well could have won another one.

      • Stryker says:

        i love how everyone says that being in NY is their best chance at winning a championship – yet the yankees aren’t the ones who’ve won 2 in the last 5 years.

        • But they put themselves in the position to win year after year.

          We presume that baseball players, in general, want two things. 1) to win, 2) to make some money. The Yankees offer this opportunity perpetually. So excuse us if we think it’s an attractive place for players to play.

        • AndrewYF says:

          Um, he could have come to NY when the Yankees had just won 4 out of 5. Therefore, if he had wanted to win a championship, it’s a shame he didn’t come to New York when he had the opportunity.

          So what’s your point, troll?

          • AndrewYF says:

            Misread, 4 out of 6. But made the World Series 5 out of 6.

          • Stryker says:

            troll? i’m far from a troll. i’ve been visiting this site since it’s inception, comment semi-regularly, and am a die hard yankees fan – always have been. god forbid someone has a different perspective on something.

  3. ChrisS says:

    That 1992 offseason was like the 2008 offseason opposite. The Yankees lost out on Bonds, the reigning NL MVP, and Maddux, the NL Cy Young winner.

    What would those 90s teams have looked like if they gave Bonds a 6th year and Maddux signed? Jeter, Posada, Bernie, Rivera, and Pettitte were already in the system at the time. The Yankees would have lost their pick of Matt Drews. They may not have traded Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill, but how productive would a Bonds/Bernie/O’Neill OF have been for 6 years? With Madduz in the rotation, do they still go get Cone?

  4. Arod, all the time says:

    I’d suggest the writer of this post ask Pavano and Johnson what they would do if offered the same contracts again by the Axis of Evil. Some learn the hard way; money isn’t everything. One’s mental health is far more important. It would be like me having a happy career working for one firm, and then be offered twice as much to work at a zoo.

    Yeah, I’d turn the money down.

  5. Rich says:

    Why do red sox fans (stryker)always comment in Yankee boards???? I swear those fans are obsessed with us. I guess if u study greatness they think it will rub off on them. 2 championships in five years is good but we already did that in our history. Check the record books u will always be at least number two

    • Arod, all the time says:

      Because the Sox boards (and Yankee boards, as well) are filled with fanboys, and they really piss me off, which is ironic because when I read the same stuff here it’s really very funny.

    • Slugger27 says:

      inferiority complex

    • LiveFromNewYork says:

      Sometimes I read the blog of the team we’re playing during a game and I never ever comment but there are obnoxious Yankee fans who go there and make stupid flameball, troll comments (esp when we’re winning).

      It actually makes me crazier to be on an opposing team’s blog and read the inflammatory comments from Yankee fans than to read troll comments here.

      I hate to stick up for them, but trolldom is not confined to Sux fans.

      • Zack says:

        We’d be naive to think that doesnt happen and we should criticize them as much as we do red sox trolls, but we’re not going to go to a red sox forum to bash yankee trolls there, but when a red sox troll comes here and talks stupid we’re going to bash them.

    • Stryker says:

      ha, i’m not a red sox fan. matt ACTY/BBD can attest to that. in fact, i’m a huge yankees fan and have been for more than 15 years. but god forbid someone have a different perspective on a topic and voice his own opinion.

  6. midloviking says:


    Based on history, Red Sox 7 WS Champions vs. Yankees 26. If you want to use the past to predict the future, don’t be selective.

    Maybe Smoltz doesn’t like the Yankees. If I had the choice of 6 mil from KC or 8 mil from the Red Sox, I would choose KC.

  7. OmgZombies! says:

    Sometimes its good that the Yankees missed out on big name FA’s.They did just fine without Smoltz from 2001-2003. Maybe they should miss out on more big name FA’s lol.

  8. [...] Smoltz, like Maddux, turned down Yankee dollars / 09 Draft: Mock Draft v3.0 [...]

  9. ledavidisrael says:

    NL Scareds.

  10. touchtoneterriost says:

    Smoltzs would have been better then HGH Pettite or Clemens.

  11. touchtoneterriost says:

    Smoltzs would have been better then HGH Ptettie or Clemens.But Maddux and Smoltz wouldn’t have the same carrer as they did as NL pitchers.

  12. [...] convince him to come to New York. While it’s hard to see someone turning down $161 million, two legendary pitchers have in the past. The gamble paid off for the Yankees. But if the economic conditions were different, would it have [...]

  13. Jeremy says:

    “Smoltzs would have been better then HGH Pettite or Clemens.”

    Down right stupidity. Pettitte out pitched Smoltz in game 5 of the 1996 World Series. He pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings, Yankees won the game 1-0. Yankees have won Championships without Smoltz and with Pettitte and Clemens. Also Pettitte is pitching better than Smoltz now. So that statement by you was complete BS.

  14. [...] we heard, over the summer, that the Yankees heavily pursued John Smoltz in the winter of 2001-2002, it wasn’t much of a surprise. After dropping the World Series to [...]

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.