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Bryce Harper in Cubs’ future? Joe Maddon says it’s ‘not going to happen’

Kicking off what’s supposed to be a week of feel-good activities for anxious Cubs fans, manager Joe Maddon delivered a downer Tuesday.

During a fireside chat with fans, Maddon had a quick answer for a fan inquiring whether prized free agent Bryce Harper could land with the Cubs.

“Not going to happen,” Maddon said without hesitation.

Broadcaster Jim Deshaies, who was emcee for the chat, quickly said, “Let’s move on.”

Manager Joe Maddon talks at the Union League Club on Tuesday. | Madeline Kenney/Sun-Times

And there you have a snapshot of what has been Maddon’s quietest offseason with the Cubs.

Yes, the Cubs have added infielder Daniel Descalso, rehabbing right-hander Kendall Graveman and left-hander Kyle Ryan along with a few other players who were signed to minor-league deals. Fans have hoped they were secretly in on Harper, which was never a real possibility this winter.

Not that Maddon was complaining.

“When you go through winters like this, it normally means you like the players that you have, and we do,” he said. “So I think more than anything we feel like we have great players in place, we just have to get more out of them. We know that.”

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Maddon doesn’t believe there are any big deals lying ahead.

“I’d be surprised if there was,” he said.

Answering questions during a fundraising dinner and silent auction co-hosted by his foundation, Respect 90, and the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs, Maddon reiterated that he wasn’t ashamed with how his team played last season.

“We won 95 games,” he repeatedly said while praising his team’s ability to overcome adversity, especially when key players like right-hander Yu Darvish and third baseman Kris Bryant suffered injuries.

With the slow offseason, Maddon has taken time to enjoy some light reading. He picked up a copy of “Managing Millennials for Dummies” to help him understand the Cubs’ younger players better.

Asked what he learned, Maddon said: “It’s common sense … I need to be in hypersensitive listening mode to make sure I’m not missing anything. The whole thing was to interact well with all ages.

“I don’t want to paint the picture there was tremendous disconnect [between him and the younger players]. There wasn’t … I try to understand everybody I work with and for.”