#AwardWorthy: Vote for Cubs

Cubs' manager, middle infielders, executive up for Esurance MLB Awards

#AwardWorthy: Vote for Cubs

The Cubs ultimately came up short of accomplishing their goal of repeating as World Series champions, falling to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. But they still provided a number of memorable moments and performances throughout the year in an exciting 2017 campaign.

A few of those moments and performances have been recognized among the best in the sport, with Javier Baez and Addison Russell up for Esurance MLB Awards for Best Defensive Play and Best Player-Fan Interaction, respectively. Manager Joe Maddon is a nominee for Best Manager, and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is nominated in the Best Executive category.

Voting led off with seven categories on Sept. 18 at mlb.com/awards, serving as the grand entrance of a program that unveiled nominees for Best Call, TV/Radio; Best Major Leaguer, Postseason; and Best Postseason Moment following the Fall Classic's final out. The ninth inning of voting began around BBWAA Awards week, which opened when the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners were unveiled on Monday. Voting for the final categories begins at 7 p.m. ET on the following dates:

• Best Executive: Thursday, Nov. 9
• Best Rookie: Monday
• Best Manager: Tuesday
• Best Pitcher: Wednesday
• Best Major Leaguer: Thursday

MLB Awards season will culminate on Friday, Nov. 17, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Vote for this season's best stars and moments in the Esurance MLB Awards

Here is a look at Chicago's nominees:

Best Play, Defense: Against the Nationals on June 26, Baez made a sliding catch in foul territory, covering 132 feet, the longest distance recorded by Statcast™ for a putout by a shortstop.

"That popup was stupid good," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He went so far. Did you see the peek? He gave the peek and knew exactly where he was. I don't know who else makes that play. I know our guy [Russell] is really good, but [Baez] did everything so perfectly on that -- the glance at the wall, the slide, the catch, everything."

Best Player-Fan Interaction: Russell earned a nomination here for his nachos mishap at Busch Stadium. The Cubs' infielder made up for spilling a fan's nachos when diving into the stands by bringing the fan a fresh tray and stopping for a selfie.

Best Manager: Maddon steered the Cubs back into contention after a subpar first half. Following a 43-45 mark at the All-Star break, the Cubs went 49-25 in the second half to win their division for the second consecutive year. Maddon guided Chicago to the NL Championship Series for the third consecutive season, and his third as Cubs manager.

Best Executive: This is familiar territory for Epstein, who won the award in 2016 after the Cubs' World Series championship run. This year presented a new challenge: how to get an established team back to the promised land. And under Epstein's guidance, the Cubs came oh so close.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.