The San Francisco Giants will welcome back some former players to mentor their young hitter during Spring Training. One of those former players is all-time major league home run leader Barry Bonds, who will work with players to help them with their approach at the plate as they move closer to the start of the 2014 season.
As part of a 10-year, post-retirement contract Bonds signed with the Giants, he will be an official team hitting mentor. While he has been implicated of extensive steroid use, don’t expect all of that noise to reach the Giants’ players. Everyone in that locker room knows what a professional hitter Bonds was and respects him as a baseball player. Steroids or not, Bonds has a high baseball IQ in terms of hitting and his approach at the plate was one of the best.
For those thinking that this will create a distraction, just look at former St. Louis Cardinals‘ hitting coach and current Los Angeles Dodgers‘ hitting coach Mark McGwire. The former slugger admitted to using steroids during his career and yet it wasn’t a distraction when he got into a locker room to mentor young hitters. Again, that’s because young players respect what great players have to say, regardless of the drama and scandal surrounding them.
Bonds’ case will be no different, as he has a lot he can share with the team’s young talent. This gig could also open up other possibilities for Bonds down the road. Depending on the overall effect that he has on the team, perhaps the Giants would like to add him to the coaching staff as a hitting coach or special assistant. It’s unclear whether or not his aforementioned 10-year contract would restrict him from taking a coaching job elsewhere.
In this situation, everybody wins. Young Giants players get valuable input from Bonds and other former players and Bonds gets to try and beef up his coaching resume. It is the first time that Bonds has appeared publicly in a baseball capacity since unofficially retiring following the 2007 season.
Only time will tell if this is his first step toward entering the coaching ranks in the future.