Theo Epstein named Executive of the Year


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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte, N.C., November 8, 2016 – Sporting News, part of Perform Media, and one of the leading digital sports media brands worldwide, has today announced Theo Epstein, President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, is Sporting News’ 2016 Major League Baseball Executive of the Year, as selected by a panel of 56 Major League executives.

Epstein, 42, was presented with the award Monday night at MLB's annual general managers meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. Voting for the honor, which SN has awarded since 1936, concluded before the start of the postseason.

The Cubs just won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, and Epstein deserves much of the credit for the historic feat. But the award was based on the Cubs' regular season, which was historic in its own right. In 2016, Chicago:

• Won 103 games, its highest win total since 1910;

• Registered its highest winning percentage (and first 100-win season) since 1935;

• Won the NL Central by 17.5 games, it biggest first-place margin since 1906.

That's a far cry from the state of the Cubs when Epstein took over following a 91-loss season in 2011. Three more losing seasons followed before Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer's moves started to pay off last season.

Following a trip to the NLCS in 2015, the Cubs made a series of offseason moves, including signing free agents Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey and trading infielder Starlin Castro. And in July, when it was clear the team would win the NL Central easily, Epstein and Hoyer worked to shore up the bullpen by trading for lefties Mike Montgomery from the Mariners and Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees.

Cubs catcher David Ross told Sporting News the players are well aware of what the front office has accomplished.

"It’s been evident all year," Ross said. "Even in spring training ... I look around and see not just the team and all the talent that’s on this team, but the minor-league guys, the guys who come up and contribute, guys like (Albert) Almora, Willson (Contreras) and guys who are on their way who are talented, too. Then you hear about the trade with Chapman and the talent we gave up, so you know there’s a lot of talent in the minor leagues. We think about that a lot. These guys, it’s pretty impressive what they’ve done up there."

Epstein, who helped lead the Boston Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, has never won SN's Executive of the Year award before. But SN did name him Executive of the Decade for the period of 2000-2009.

Heis just the third Cub to win Executive of the Year, following Phil Wrigley (1945) and Dallas Green (1984).

VOTING RESULTS

(Voting by AL and NL front office executives)

Theo Epstein, Cubs-13

Chris Antonetti, Indians-9

Brian Cashman, Yankees-8

Jon Daniels, Rangers-7

Mike Chernoff, Indians-3

Mike Rizzo, Nationals-3

Dan Duquette, Orioles-2

Jed Hoyer, Cubs-2

Other-7

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Tags: Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, John Lackey, David Ross, Mike Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, Theo Epstein
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