When the Cardinals named Mark McGwire as their hitting coach last offseason it was first met with shock. Then criticism. Then questions. Then McGwire apologized, the season started and all of the media hype sort of just … went away.
Would we see the same reaction if Rafael Palmeiro was suddenly named the Orioles’ hitting coach? Or if a major league team hired Jose Canseco?
How about Barry Bonds?
The former Giants slugger told the Associated Press before Wednesday’s World Series Game 1 that he would love to enter the coaching side of the baseball world and that San Francisco would be an ideal place for his debut.
“I have a gift and sooner or later I have to give it away,” Bonds said. “I have to share it. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity here.”
The post-PED baseball world is filled with a lot of unknowns. McGwire was embraced because he apologized — live, on MLB Network with Bob Costas — and because he opened himself to all questions when reporters came crawling during spring training. Can Bonds do that? He has battled the media since the early days of his playing career and he’s yet to hint at any sort of remorse for cheating the game back in the early 2000s.
Until he apologizes, and until he is able to handle a serious line of questioning, it’s highly doubtful that Bonds will be hired as an instructor anywhere.
Yasiel Puig made a public appearance today. He was a guest barista at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Los Angeles as part of a charity . . . thing. I dunno. I just hope that, after finishing the foam on someone’s latte he airmailed it past his fellow barista at the counter and got it to the customer on the fly 300 feet away, after which he flipped the espresso machine. Gotta stay on-brand.
After that he talked about baseball. Puig, who was demoted last season and then brought back up in a part-time role, said that it’s his goal to be a starter again, if not in Los Angeles than someplace else. As for the someplace else, the Dodgers explored a Puig trade last season and it was thought they’d try again this offseason, but it’s been all quiet on that front.
What is Puig, for his part, doing to become a starter again? Getting in shape. From MLB.com:
Puig has been working out at Dodger Stadium the last two weeks. He is conditioning his leaner body to avoid injuries that have plagued him and working with batting coaches in search of regaining the impact bat that once had him on the verge of superstardom . . . The 6-foot-2 Puig, who last year was listed at 240 pounds, now has a personal chef to prepare healthier foods.
A leaner Puig. That’ll certainly be a game-changer, right?
Yet as a new season dawns, the team still hopes he can recapture the form he displayed as a rookie in 2013. The organization asked Puig to slim down and focus on durability rather than musculature. Friedman sounded pleased with the result. Puig had suggested he weighed about 240 pounds, down 15 from his listed weight in 2015.
Oops. That was from January 30, 2016.
If he keeps getting leaner each offseason eventually he’ll just disappear, right?
Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.
Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.