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Maddon hints Cubs have moves to make

Skipper discusses offseason at 'Thanksmas' charity event
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon celebrated "Thanksmas" on Wednesday night by serving spaghetti dinner to folks at the Catholic Charities, and he's looking ahead to his Spring Training message as the team tries to reach the postseason for a fourth straight year. Maddon also hinted that the Cubs may not be done adding to the 2018 roster.

"We could function pretty well with what we have now," Maddon said of the current roster. "If I'm the [general manager], I'm always trying to make the group better, so I do like the group that's already there, but I would not doubt our boys [in the front office] will do something else."

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon celebrated "Thanksmas" on Wednesday night by serving spaghetti dinner to folks at the Catholic Charities, and he's looking ahead to his Spring Training message as the team tries to reach the postseason for a fourth straight year. Maddon also hinted that the Cubs may not be done adding to the 2018 roster.

"We could function pretty well with what we have now," Maddon said of the current roster. "If I'm the [general manager], I'm always trying to make the group better, so I do like the group that's already there, but I would not doubt our boys [in the front office] will do something else."

The Cubs have added pitchers Brandon Morrow, Steve Cishek, Tyler Chatwood and Drew Smyly this offseason but also were believed to be considering acquiring another starting pitcher, either through free agency or trade. A lot of the time in the Cubs' offices lately has been spent on preparing arbitration figures for six players -- Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks, Addison Russell, Justin Wilson, Justin Grimm and Tommy La Stella. On Friday, teams and players to exchange figures.

"We've done a lot of good stuff," Maddon said of the Cubs' offseason acquisitions. "The guys we did sign, I'm really thrilled about."

He hasn't been asked to do any recruiting of free agents since meeting with Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who ultimately picked the Angels. Maddon will leave the negotiations to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, even those involving free agent Jake Arrieta, who has yet to sign.

"All I can say is Jake knows how I feel about him personally," Maddon said. "We would not have had this wonderful run without him. I just wish what's best for him and his family."

Maddon is working on his Spring Training theme but wasn't ready to reveal it.

"The two most important items all summer will be energy and enthusiasm," he said. "We've been [to the playoffs] three years in a row, right? We're pretty good, we have good guys coming back, we just acquired some good guys. If you show up with energy and enthusiasm every day -- they'll do their work, they'll study, do the video -- what else could I possibly ask them to do? If you show up with the right mental attitude every day, that's when all that stuff really kicks in."

The Cubs may have been pressing to repeat as World Series champs, Maddon said, and that could have contributed to their slow start in 2017.

There was plenty of enthusiasm among the people at Catholic Charities as they dined on spaghetti, meatballs, salad and cake. It's the third "Thanksmas" event Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation has hosted this offseason after one in St. Petersburg and another in the manager's hometown of Hazleton, Pa.

"This is just a drop in the bucket but anything that raises levels of awareness among everybody, among the population, is always a good thing," he said.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

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