The Giants have announced that Barry Bonds has joined the organization as a special advisor to team CEO Larry Baer.
Bonds, of course, spent last season as the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins. That stint ended unceremoniously when he was asked not to return for the upcoming season. Word on the street was that he and Don Mattingly did not see eye-to-eye. More significantly, Giancarlo Stanton didn’t care for Bonds, with the latter calling out the former in front of others on at least one occasion. If the manager and the superstar aren’t in your corner, you’re toast as a coach.
His duties in San Francisco are unknown, but the Giants have long kept former stars close in ambassadorial roles if nothing else. In terms of stature he fits alongside Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry as former Giants who can be seen representing the team publicly.
Whether Bonds wants another crack at coaching is another question, but at the moment San Francisco is happy with Hensley Meulens as their hitting coach. He’s well-respected in the organization and around the league and isn’t going anyplace, at least as long as Bruce Bochy is around.
Now I wonder if they’ll change the dumb “Hall of Famers only” rule they have and retire Bonds’ number 25.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.