Two of the most dynamic sluggers of baseball’s steroid era are currently working on big league benches. Barry Bonds is the batting coach of the Miami Marlins and Mark McGwire is the bench coach of the San Diego Padres. Both have proven to be valuable assets to their respective coaching staffs and seem to have a willingness (particularly McGwire) to work in the game for the long run.
Former PED-using greats Alex Rodriguez (now a “Special Adviser” with the Yankees), Manny Ramirez (a “Hitting Consultant” with the Cubs), and Roger Clemens (a “Special Assistant” with the Astros) are also still working in baseball.
Meanwhile, former slugger and alleged PED-user Jason Giambi has long been thought of as a guy who would make an excellent coach or manager. According to ESPN, he almost got the Rockies job when it was open four years ago.
We know that teams will take a chance on a guy with a questionable past if it will result in a winning team. And the fact that these guys are still employed at an instructional level shows a desire to maintain a relationship with the game. Is it possible that a team would hire one to be their skipper? Would any want the stress and responsibility of managing today’s game?
Only time will tell.
One thing is for sure: all would like to be recognized for their playing accomplishments by being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Slowly but surely, society is forgiving individual baseball players who were known users of performance enhancing drugs. In turn, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is mirroring public opinion by giving alleged PED-users a few more votes each year.
Let’s take a look at some odds on what will eventually happen with these (alleged) cheats.
(Alleged) PED-User Odds
Odds to land a managerial job in the MLB in the next ten years
Mark McGwire: 12/1
Barry Bonds: 25/1
Jason Giambi: 50/1
Alex Rodriguez: 50/1
Roger Clemens: 100/1
Manny Ramirez: LOL (a.k.a. 1000/1)
Mark McGwire is the most likely to land a gig because of his work ethic. He has shown a desire to stay in the game and seems to truly enjoy the daily grind. Bonds surprised us all by taking the job as batting coach with the Marlins. The early returns from Miami are positive as several players have complimented his style and approach. The standoffish player we once knew is long gone and Barry appears to be enjoying his new role with a fresh attitude. Giambi may possess the best skill set to do the job but he hasn’t shown the same desire to continue working in the game.
Odds on which team they are most likely to manage (assuming they get a job)
- Oakland A’s: 10/1
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 12/1
- St. Louis Cardinals: 15/1
- Pittsburgh Pirates: 8/1
- San Francisco Giants: 15/1
- Miami Marlins: 15/1
- Colorado Rockies: 5/1
- Oakland A’s: 10/1
- New York Mets: 12/1
- Miami Marlins: 10/1
- Seattle Mariners: 12/1
- New York Yankees: 12/1
- Houston Astros: 8/1
- Texas Rangers: 10/1
- Boston Red Sox: 15/1
Odds to make the Hall of Fame as a player
Alex Rodriguez: 1/5
Barry Bonds: 1/4
Roger Clemens: 1/4
Manny Ramirez: 2/5
Jason Giambi: 30/1
Mark McGwire: 100/1
The top four guys belong in Cooperstown and should eventually get in. A Rod is the favorite because of timing; writers have 15 years to get over his PED use. Bonds and Clemens only have six more years. Time has already expired for McGwire. His slim hopes now rely on the Veterans Committee.
Over/under on when the first known PED-user is voted into the Hall of Fame: 2020
Bonds and Clemens are on the same trajectory. Each gets a little higher percentage of the vote with every passing year. The big question is what percentage of the BBWAA is committed to keeping all alleged PED-users out. They’ve been slow to forgive but the numbers indicate they’re ultimately getting over it. If Bonds and Clemens don’t get it within the next six years, this debate will carry on for at least another decade.
Odds to make the Hall of Fame as a manager
Barry Bonds: 500/1
Mark McGwire: 1000/1
Jason Giambi: 3000/1
Alex Rodriguez: 3000/1
Roger Clemens: 8000/1
Manny Ramirez: LOL
“LOL” should probably be the answer for all six; only 23 managers have been enshrined in Cooperstown. It’s highly unlikely any of these former greats excels as a skipper at a HoF level.
Bonds tops the list because of his unique personality. If he fails to get in as a player, sympathy will accumulate in each passing year. Everyone knows Bonds is one of the greatest players in the history of the game. He belongs in Cooperstown and the Veterans Committee will feel a sense of responsibility to somehow get him in. It’s still more likely they’d vote him in as a player but a great managerial career could potentially be enhanced by this phenomenon. With time, the media will trust him and sell his personal turnaround as a comeback story of sorts.
Feature photo: John (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].