Nats' third base coach Pat Listach would like to manage Cubs

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Throw another name in the ring. We first heard of his interest over the weekend, but Nationals third base coach Pat Listach reiterated to Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he would like to manage the Cubs.

“I would definitely like the job,” Listach said.  “But I have a job to
do here in Washington. If that job is available, it would be a dream
come true. When you bring a championship to that city and that team, it’s
a big deal.”

“It’s one of the elite jobs in baseball. When you
start talking about the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers, that’s the
elite of the elite. Just to be considered is an honor. It makes me feel
good as a person that I’ve done the right things in this game that
people would consider me.”

Listach, who turns 43 next month, never played with the Cubs during his six-year major league career, however he managed or coached for nine seasons in the team’s minor league system. He compiled a 253-221 record over three-plus seasons as a manager, including winning the PCL’s Manager of the Year Award with Triple-A Iowa in 2008. This is Listach’s second season as Washington’s third base coach.

Listach has a very impressive resume, but he’ll have to beat out interim manager Mike Quade, Fredi Gonzalez, Ryne Sandberg and Bob Brenly, among others, for the post. It won’t be easy. You don’t need me to tell you that the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Whoever can break that streak will be a hero in the city forever, so there’s endless appeal to the gig.  

Johnny Monell signs with KBO’s KT Wiz

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06:  Johnny Monell #19 of the New York Mets runs back to the dugout after he scored in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.

Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.

The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.