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.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.