The Chicago Cubs announced a five-year contract extension for Theo Esptein, the club’s president of baseball operations, on Wednesday, rewarding him for an overhaul that has the long-suffering franchise eyeing its first championship since 1908.
The extension comes with the Cubs wrapping up one of the greatest seasons in franchise history and their fans believing that this just might be the team to end the 108-year World Series title drought.
They reached 100 wins for the first time since 1935 and were a major league-leading 101-56 heading into Wednesday's game at Pittsburgh. Chicago clinched the best record in the majors with more than a week left in the regular 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,” chairman Tom Ricketts said. “Now, the results are on the field.”
Terms were not disclosed. Ricketts said the contract “ensures the baseball operations team assembled by Epstein will continue its remarkable tenure of building a consistent championship contender.”
Epstein, who was in the final season of the five-year deal he signed when he left Boston in October 2011, had repeatedly said a new contract was formality, that there were more immediate priorities. Ricketts had echoed that and indicated in the spring that he was prepared to make him one of the highest-paid executives in baseball.
The new deal is a reward for a stunning transformation that began with the arrivals of Epstein along with General Manager Jed Hoyer and senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod — his friends from Boston — following the 2011 season.
Chicago White Sox Manager Robin Ventura won't say whether he's been offered the chance to return next season and backtracked from an earlier comment that he'd like to come back for a sixth season. USA Today reported Wednesday the White Sox decided to retain Ventura, if he wants to stay. Citing an unnamed official, the report indicated that Ventura hasn't told the front office of his 2017 plans. …
Bryce Harper is out of the Washington Nationals' starting lineup for the third consecutive game because of an injured left thumb. With rain forecast, Nationals Manager Dusty Baker did not want to risk the NL MVP in a wet outfield during Wednesday night's game against Arizona.