Cubs Notes: TV Network, Maddon, Harper, Russell

The Cubs' 15-year deal with NBC Sports Chicago expires at the end of 2019. As a result, they plan to build their own regional sports network in time for the 2020 season, Crane Kenney's President told Jordan Bastian of MLB. com and other reporters Saturday. "We will have our own channel. We have a seat at a much larger table, so we were not involved in discussions locally, but on a national level, how we start our channel and with whom we will start it. " said Kenney, who added the Cubs "Do it with a strategic partner" and the "The details will become clearer in the next 30 days." Kenney also hinted that another baseball team will be involved, though he will not be a local club, according to Bastian.

Here's more about the North Sierre:

  • Although the Cubs are not seeking an extension with Joe Maddon in this offseason, baseball's president Theo Epstein said Saturday he wants the manager to stay beyond 2019. "I hope so," said Epstein, who, as Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune writes, "bets that Maddon will remain as coach this season." The Cubs have been ravishingly successful in their four years under Maddon, who will turn 65 in February, 387-261 with a playoff appearance each season, two NL Central titles and their scathing World Cup in 2016.

  • Maddon announced earlier this week that the Cubs will not sign a free agent outfielder Bryce Harperand third baseman Kris Bryant threw more cold water on this opportunity Saturday (via Bastian). "He does not sign here" Bryant said of Harper, a longtime friend who had been a speculative target for the Cubs entering the off-season. However, since the Cubs seem to be spending almost to their fullest, they were not in the Harper market this winter. The team was planning to hold an opening ceremony for the franchise record in 2019, as Jason Martinez of Roster Resource estimates, and on Saturday Epstein "emphasized" he could not exceed the budget per Gonzales.

  • Epstein also talked about shortstop this week Addison Russellwho, to deter many observers, still remains in the Cubs' plans, despite being suspended for domestic violence for 40 games. When Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reports in a subscription, Epstein said Friday that the Cubs' first reaction was to deviate from Russell. Instead, they're prepared to keep the 24-year-old Russell and pay him $ 3.4 million, even though Epstein learned that "Domestic violence experts do not believe in zero tolerance." They rather advocate "A second chance if the offender wants to do the hard work of stabilizing his life and relationships and growing, so that it does not happen again." The boys give Russell this second chance, though Epstein has noted "People have the right to boo" Russell and the team are ready "Immediately continue" from him, if he wastes his opportunity. Epstein added that Melissa Reidy, Russell's ex-wife, whose allegations of abuse had led to his suspension, supported the Cubs' decision to keep him in the herd. "She felt that this was the best chance for Addison to put his life in order and get support from us with the incentive to make his way back to the Cubs."