By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (670 The Score) — Cubs manager Joe Maddon is a generous man with his time and money. On Thursday, he was feeding the homeless at the Catholic Charities event on North LaSalle St. Maddon’s annual “Thanksmas” event helps the homeless and needy in three different states.
A dinner was provided for 100 people, and backpacks were handed out to the people who need them the most.
Maddon also took a few moments to discuss the personnel needs of his Cubs. Maddon expressed some uncertainty when asked about right-hander Jake Arrieta, who remains a free agent as spring training looms in about a month. The Cubs were in discussions regarding a multi-year deal with Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, more than a week ago. It’s believed that Arrieta would accept a four-year deal in the $110 million range, USA Today has reported.
Maddon wanted to leave Arrieta talk primarily to executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
“I would never negotiate for Theo or Jed in public,” Maddon said. “All I can say is Jake knows how I feel about him personally. We all do. We would not have had this wonderful run we are on without him. I just wish what is best for him and his family quite frankly. They are great people. He is great. Conversationally, he and I have had some really interesting moments. I would love to have him back. Any team would. That is not for me to say. So I learned years ago to try and stay out of negotiations.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 in March, was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 2017.
The slow-moving free-agent market has many in the game baffled. More than 140 players remain unsigned.
“This is interesting how this thing has come together,” Maddon said of the lethargic pace in which players are being signed. “This is interesting, and it’s different. The dam is going to burst at some point. You will see everybody gets signed all of the sudden. That is most likely to happen. I don’t get to involved in the offseason on transactions much. Theo or Jed will call once in awhile. They will talk about different things. I try to put it all down. I have just been thinking about a new theme.”
Maddon believes the Cubs need to concentrate more on having fun in 2018. He thought his 2017 team lost some of the joy that was displayed in the run to a championship in 2016, with Maddon saying the Cubs were trying too hard to repeat.
“Sometimes the joy and enthrallment of winning a first time wear off,” Maddon said. “I don’t want that happening again. I want it to be as joyful and enthralling as the first time we did it. I have been trying to wrap my mind around energy and enthusiasm going forward. If you attack it with the verve that is necessary, all of a sudden it becomes impactful on an annual basis. That is where I am at right now.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.