At 39 and having missed the entire 2014 season due to suspension, Alex Rodriguez is attempting an improbable comeback. His skills were already rapidly declining in 2013—in 44 games he posted his lowest batting average and slugging percentage since 1995, and his fielding has been getting worse for half a decade now—and that probably wasn't halted while he was absent for a year. So this offseason, Alex Rodriguez is turning to someone new to get back on track: Barry Bonds. Via the San Francisco Chronicle:
Bonds’ latest pupil has been out of the game since 2013, has hip issues and turns 40 in July, but Rodriguez is gung ho about returning to the Yankees and is all ears around Bonds. A-Rod posted on Instagram two photos of him swinging a bat with these words: “Starting the year in the cage.”
Turns out the photos were taken in San Rafael at the Future Prospects facility owned and run by Charles Scott, Bonds’ friend and Arizona State teammate who played nine seasons in the minors and scouted for nine more with the Rays, Diamondbacks and Nationals. There, Bonds has worked with A-Rod as he did with Morse, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford and other Giants during his week-long stint in Scottsdale last spring.
This pairing is too perfect. Barry Bonds had to adjust to (probably) hitting clean as a baseball old-timer after (probably) using steroids during his greatest seasons, and now Alex Rodriguez (probably) is going to try and do the same thing. They're also both near-universally reviled—though Bonds probably less so as he hasn't really been in the spotlight for seven seasons—so it's not like either of them are taking a hit to their reputation by associating.
The $64 million that the Yankees still owe Rodriguez is guaranteed, but he can gain an additional $30 million in bonuses by hitting certain home run milestones in his (likely futile at this point) quest to overtake Bonds as baseball's all-time home run leader. If Bonds can help Rodriguez can play as well at 39 as he did at 42, he might just add to his swimming pool of money.
Photo via Jeff Chiu/AP