CHICAGO — Theo Epstein, who transformed the long-suffering Chicago Cubs and helped bring home a drought-busting championship in 2016, is stepping down after nine seasons as the club’s president of baseball operations.

The team announced Tuesday that Epstein is leaving the organization, and General Manager Jed Hoyer is being promoted to take his place.

Epstein said after the season he anticipated remaining on the job for at least one more year, with his contract set to expire in 2021. He had said repeatedly he thinks executives have about a 10-year shelf life in a job, and next year would have marked a decade since he left the Boston Red Sox for Chicago.

Epstein said in a statement he will “cherish” his time with the Cubs and said it was simply time to make a change.

“The organization faces a number of decisions this winter that carry long-term consequences; those types of decisions are best made by someone who will be here for a long period rather than just one more year,” he said. “Jed has earned this opportunity and is absolutely the right person to take over this baseball operation at such an important time.”

Chairman Tom Ricketts said the Cubs are “grateful for everything he has given to this organization and this city.”

DODGERS: President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was named Major League Baseball’s 2020 executive of the year Tuesday, as voted on by the 30 clubs before the start of the postseason.

Friedman, in his sixth year in Los Angeles, constructed a team that posted the league’s best record (43-17) and highest win percentage by any club since 1954 (.717) in the pandemic-shortened campaign. The Dodgers scored the most runs, had the best earned-run average, and lost one series all year. They claimed their eighth straight division title – the third longest streak in MLB history – before going on to win their first World Series in 32 years.

Friedman, 44, joined the Dodgers in October 2014 after leading the Tampa Bay Rays’ front office and signed a contract extension last offseason. He is the third winner of MLB’s executive of the year award since it was introduced in 2018. The Oakland Athletics’ Billy Beane won it in 2018. The Rays’ Erik Neander was honored last year.

OBITUARY: Lindy McDaniel, an All-Star reliever who appeared in nearly 1,000 major league games over 21 seasons, has died. He was 84.

Bill Chambers, longtime friend and fellow elder at the Lavon Church of Christ in Lavon, Texas, said McDaniel died of COVID-19 on Saturday night at an acute care facility in Carrollton, a Dallas suburb.

Steady as a long man and closer, McDaniel pitched in 987 big league games, trailing only Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm when he retired in 1975.

McDaniel debuted with the St. Louis Cardinals as a 19-year-old in 1955 and won 15 games as a starter two years later before transitioning to the bullpen for the bulk of his career. He led the majors with 27 saves in 1960, earning an All-Star selection and tying for third in Cy Young Award balloting with Cardinals teammate Ernie Broglio behind winner Vern Law and runner-up Warren Spahn.

The lanky right-hander pitched eight seasons with St. Louis and six with the New York Yankees, and also appeared for the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals. He finished his career with a 3.45 ERA, 174 saves and a record of 141-119 despite playing for mostly mediocre teams. For all his success, McDaniel never appeared in a postseason game.

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