Theo Epstein named Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year

Cubs president Theo Epstein speaks to the media at Wrigley Field on August 29th.

Cubs president Theo Epstein speaks to the media at Wrigley Field on August 29th.

CHICAGO – The architect of the first World Series title on the North Side of the Windy City since 1908 is fittingly the first to receive a major postseason honor.

On Monday night Cubs president Theo Epstein, who oversaw the five-year rebuild of the franchise, was named the Sporting News Major League Baseball Executive of the Year.

The award was presented at the league’s general managers meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. Epstein was given the award based on the votes of 56 MLB executives.

Thirteen of the votes went to Epstein with nine going to Indians president Chris Antonetti. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer received two of the 56 votes.

Epstein joins former Cubs president Phil Wrigley (1945) and general manager Dallas Green (1984) as the franchise’s winners of the award. While the first time that he’s won the Executive of the Year Award, Epstein did win the Executive of the Decade honor from 2000-2009 after helping the Red Sox to a pair of titles as general manager.

After a late-season collapse by Boston in 2011, Epstein was hired by Cubs owner Tom Ricketts to oversee a lengthy rebuilding of the franchise. Three years removed from the team’s last playoff appearance, Epstein began rebuilding the team from the minor leagues.

After three losing seasons and two managers, the Cubs made the playoffs under the leadership of Joe Maddon in 2015 and a young, energetic lineup. Free agents like Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist were added for 2016 to the young core and closer Aroldis Chapman via trade midseason.

The Cubs won 103 games in the regular season – the best in all of baseball and the most wins for the team since 1910. Later came the team’s first pennant since 1945 and then a World Series championship for the first time in 108 years in a memorable seven-game series with the Cleveland Indians.