Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was named in TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Actor John Cusack, a noted Cubs fan, wrote Epstein’s blurb. Cusack said:
After that epic World Series Game 7, I found myself in the dugout watching first baseman Anthony Rizzo waving to the heavens. Theo was quite still—I watched him watch Rizzo. He must have felt it and turned to me, almost apologetic. “I haven’t given you a proper hug!” he said.
“Greatest sporting moment of the century,” I told him. “Thank you. And thank you from my father.” He took it but undercut his achievement with a wry smile. “No,” he said, “it’s all about these guys.” Then he walked back into the fray.
Others named in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People included Pope Francis, LeBron James, John Lewis, Colin Kaepernick, Tom Brady, and Jordan Peele.
Epstein was also named The World’s Greatest Leader by Forbes last month. He has ended two historic championship droughts for the Red Sox and Cubs and the accolades keep on piling up.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.