CHICAGO – One of the few lingering dramas involving the 2016 Chicago Cubs was taken care of on Wednesday.
Before their game with the Pirates in Pittsburgh the Cubs announced that they have extended the contract of team president Theo Epstein for five more seasons. The initial contract was set to expire at the end of this season.
“In the five years under Theo’s leadership, he has brought in a strong executive team and acquired and developed some of the best players in the game. Now, the results are on the field. My family and I have no doubt that we have moved closer to our goal of delivering Cubs fans the World Series Championship they deserve,” said Cubs owner Tom Ricketts in a statement released by the team. “Both on the baseball and business sides, I believe we have the best leadership in the league and we are well positioned for sustained success.”
Since joining the Cubs after a successful run with the Red Sox in October of 2011, Epstein has overseen a major overhaul of the franchise on the field. The team put heavy emphasis on building a team from the farm system up and committed heavily to the philosophy from the start of the 2012 season.
After three seasons of rebuilding with two managers in which the Cubs failed to finish over .500, the Cubs had a resurgence in 2015 as they won 97 games under the leadership of Joe Maddon. In October the Cubs won their first playoff game in 12 seasons when they beat the Pirates in the Wild Card Playoff then upset the Cardinals in the National League Division Series for just their second postseason series win since 2008. The Cubs would lose to the Mets in the National League Championship Series.
In 2016 with a full compliment of young talent sprinkled in with a few high profile free agents, the Cubs have enjoyed one of the best seasons in franchise history. Their 101 victories is the most since the 1910 season and they’ve already wrapped up home field advantage for the National League playoffs.
Epstein will hope to lead a team to a World Series title for a third time in his baseball career having helped Boston to championships in 2004 and 2007. Those were the first championships for the franchise since 1918.