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Maddux's signing expected Monday

Maddux's signing expected Monday

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The official signing of Greg Maddux to a free-agent contract has been put off until Monday in order to accommodate a physical exam the future Hall of Fame pitcher is scheduled to have administered that day in San Diego.

"There's still some contract language we need to work through," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said Wednesday night when asked about the status of negotiations. "Monday he has a physical. I think it'll likely be official on Monday."

The deal is for two years and at least $16.5 million. Maddux's option for 2008 will take it to $20 million if in 2007 he pitches at least 180 innings -- a number he has surpassed for 19 consecutive seasons.

While the 333-game winner prepares to join the pitching staff, Jose Cruz Jr. has accepted a opportunity to enrich the Padres' outfield in 2007.

A switch-hitter who can play all three outfield positions, Cruz agreed to one-year, non-guaranteed contract worth $650,000. If he doesn't make the club, the Padres will owe him one-sixth of that figure.

The Maddux deal is $10 million guaranteed for 2007 with a guaranteed player option of $6.5 million for 2008, escalating to $8 million with 160 innings pitched, $9 million for 170 innings and $10 million for 180 innings.

Maddux, who was 15-14 with a 4.20 ERA in 34 starts for the Cubs and Dodgers in 2006, should have no trouble, based on his history, reaching innings incentives for a second season in San Diego.

His 210 innings this season would have led the Padres' staff, surpassing Jake Peavy's 202 1/3. Incredibly durable, Maddux's 199 1/3 innings in 2002 with Atlanta represented the only time since his rookie year in 1987 that he was unable to reach 200 innings.

What's more, Maddux's 15 wins exceeded by three Woody Williams' staff-leading total for the 2006 National League West champion Padres.

With Williams departing via free agency to Houston, Maddux would slide into his spot in the rotation alongside Peavy, Chris Young and Clay Hensley.

The fifth spot conceivably could go to another durable veteran, David Wells. Offered arbitration by the Padres, the San Diegan is leaving the door ajar to return for a 21st Major League season at age 43.

Last year's sixth starter, Mike Thompson, and Tim Stauffer are considered other possibilities for the rotation, pending further moves.

The Padres had several discussions with Boras on Tuesday morning with respect to Maddux, who has a home in Dana Point, between Los Angeles and San Diego on the Pacific coast, and has made it clear he'd prefer to pitch for a West Coast team.

"We knew going in where we could go [financially], and if it ever exceeded that point, we would drop out," Towers said.

Maddux was believed to be seeking a contract in the $22 million to $25 million range, comparable to the deal Mike Mussina signed with the Yankees.

"I've known him a long time," new Padres manager Bud Black said of Maddux. "Obviously, he'd be a great addition to any team."

Maddux has spent 21 seasons in the National League accumulating data in his computer-like mind that would be invaluable to Black, managing for the first time and making a transition to a new league after serving as the Angels' pitching coach.

"Peavy, Young, Hensley -- all three of our [starting] pitchers are relatively young," Towers said. "The intangibles [Maddux] brings along are pluses as well as the winning. We have a new manager who doesn't maybe know the National League as well as the American League.

"It's almost like having an advance scout in uniform. It would be nice to have that kind of guy in place."

The Padres would not have to hand over compensatory draft picks to the Dodgers for signing Maddux, who was not offered arbitration by Los Angeles. San Diego will receive two compensation choices in the First-Year Player Draft as a result of Houston's signing of Williams.

Cruz could serve as a right-handed-hitting platoon partner in left field with Terrmel Sledge, projected as the starter.

Cruz, 32, spent 2006 with the Dodgers, batting .233 with .353 on-base and .381 slugging marks. He's a .249 career hitter in 1,259 games with 198 homers and 602 runs batted in along with 670 runs scored.

A force early in his career with Toronto, the son of former Houston Astros star Jose "Cheo" Cruz had back-to-back seasons of 30-plus homers in 2000 and 2001 for the Blue Jays. He was a 30-30 man in '01 with career highs of 34 homers and 32 steals.

He produced five homers and 17 RBIs for the '06 Dodgers in 86 games with 223 at-bats.

"He gives us a right-handed option in the outfield," Towers said. "He also gives us another guy who can back up Mike Cameron in center, along with [Brian] Giles."

Towers said he spoke with "almost every club" Tuesday but turned up nothing especially appealing on the trade front.

"We had a few deals proposed to us that we rejected," Towers said. "There are no [trades] picking up any steam."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }
{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }