The Chicago Cubs were intent on preventing Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, from walking out the door when his contract expired at season's end. On Wednesday, the Cubs and Epstein agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension.
Financial terms were not disclosed by the team, but USA Today reported the deal is worth more than $50 million -- a substantial upgrade from the five-year, $18.5 million pact that Epstein signed on Oct. 25, 2011.
Under Epstein's watch, the Cubs have won 97 or more games in consecutive seasons for the first time in more than 100 years and are considered postseason favorites in 2016 to end their pronounced World Series drought.
Chicago, which has 101 victories with five games remaining, became the third team in major league history to win at least 100 games within four years of a 100-loss season (61-101 in 2012).
"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. 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."
Ricketts added that the contract "ensures the baseball operations team assembled by Epstein will continue its remarkable tenure of building a consistent championship contender."
Epstein quickly bolstered the organization by masterminding a handful of trades to bring young talent into the farm system while also being aggressive on the free agent market.
Top draft choices such as Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. joined international free agent Jorge Soler to go along with trade acquisitions Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Addison Russell, Dexter Fowler and Kyle Hendricks in aiding in Chicago's rapid ascent.
Maddon was named 2015 National League Manager of the Year.
A Boston native, Epstein served as Red Sox general manager from 2003-11 and led the star-crossed club to two World Series titles. He also helped Boston advance to the American League Championship Series on four occasions (2003-04, 2007-08).