Barry Bonds will return to a professional baseball stadium near you next year when the 51-year-old MLB home run king starts his job as the new Miami Marlins hitting coach.

The Marlins are taking a risk on the controversial Bonds who has only served as a special instructor at Giants spring training the past few years but new Miami manager Don Mattingly—who knows a thing or two about hitting—says the slugger could still be good for more than a few long balls.

"Barry could play, I bet," Mattingly said at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. "He looks like he could still play."

Mattingly was joking—right?—but if Bonds can actually connect on a 95 mph fastball, just imagine the one-two punch of Bonds and Giancarlo Stanton. At least let the man pinch hit every once in a while.

But on a serious note, with his performance enhancing drugs background, having Bonds back in the game make the Marlins a lot more intriguing than they otherwise would be. You know he's never going to address the issues of steroids directly but the more important question for Marlins fans—all three of you out there—is how good of a coach one of the greatest sluggers/hitters of all-time will actually be? There's a reason star athletes rarely transition successfully to the bench as a coach or manager but Mattingly has high expectations.

"The knowledge is there," Mattingly said. "You know he understands exactly, probably at a level that maybe not very many may understand, but also a guy that came through a pretty good teaching. His dad was a good teacher. Willie Mays was a pretty good teacher, he's his Godson. So he's from a good teaching background. And his attitude of wanting to be good. When Barry Bonds tells me he wants to be good at something, I think he's going to be good."

[h/t Big League Stew]

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