Does Jose Canseco Have Coaching Potential?


The whole world doesn’t hate Jose Canseco. In fact, a lot of people still like him a great deal.Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Canseco has never been subtle. He wasn’t subtle as half of the Bash Brothers, he wasn’t subtle in his personal life, he wasn’t subtle when he outed all of baseball and he’s not subtle now. He wasn’t subtle at the 89 reunion game when he said, to many interviewers, that he was nervous about the reaction he’d receive from fans. The reaction he received brought a tear to his eye and choked me up a bit, too.

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It seems that a lot of the baseball world has forgiven him, albeit it’s mostly the guys that weren’t juicing. When push comes to shove, he was right. He may not have been right to go about it in the way that he did it but the fact of the matter is, people were cheating and he was right to make it public. The game is better now because of it and it will forever give us something to argue about every time Hall of Fame nominations are announced.

So, in the tradition of not being subtle, I found it telling when I read this simple tweet from Jose Canseco’s Twitter feed a few days ago.

By now you’ve heard that Chili Davis is hanging out with Yoenis Cespedes in Boston next season and there is a vacant position for hitting coach of the Oakland Athletics. Jose Canseco, publicly, has never even been a murmur in the rumor mill but his tweet indicates that he’s probably interested. Leaving his playing stats and coaching experience behind for a moment, let’s ponder if it would even be a good idea to bring Jose Canseco back to Oakland.

I wrote last week about bringing Rickey Henderson in as some sort of coach (one reader suggested Scoring Coach which sounds like a terrible Dane Cook movie at first but turns out to be a pretty brilliant idea for the Athletics) and the fans who responded to my poll were overwelmingly supportive of the idea. The thinking, for me, is that your coaching staff, being staffed by the great Athletics players of yesteryear, become their own draw. It’s a boost for the team who benefit from coaching by guys who know the park, the team philosophy, and what it takes to win and it’s a boost for the PR department that can start giving away Henderson jerseys again.

So, we look at Jose Canseco. Last summer proved that most Athletics fans, especially those of my generation who were kids during the Bash Brothers days, have moved on. I didn’t read his book. I didn’t care about his book. All I knew is that when I went to the game early to watch batting practice, Jose Canseco was one of the most amazing things I’d ever seen. I remember sitting in the stands and yelling his name hoping he’d turn around and acknowledge me, even if to tell me to shut up. I had his baseball cards and a poster on my wall. Jose Canseco was the man. A lot of people my age share that sentiment so, from a fan side, he could be a good fit.

There are some players of his generation who are coaching now who have very well known grudges with the man. Mark Mcgwire chief among them. As long as none of the coaches on the Athletics have a problem with him, I don’t see how that makes a difference unless the A’s are trying to hire a guy like McGwire in the future.

Then there are today’s players. The oldest of today’s players are about my age (I think Coco Crisp is a year older) and the majority are probably too young to remember Canseco as a player. Unless they have some deep rooted adherence to the “unspoken” rules of baseball that prevents them from accepting Jose Canseco as a coach, I think we’re ok there too.

So, all signs point to this being a move the Athletics could make in the future. Is it the move they should make? That remains to be seen. Jose Canseco is a larger than life personality who brings along a lot of drama and media attention. Would he be able to be second or third fiddle on the coaching staff or would his ego make him jaded or overstep his bounds? And, lastly, does he have anything to offer in terms of coaching? He doesn’t have a track record as a hitting coach and would be a complete gamble at the major league level. Not to say that he doesn’t have it in him but even he doesn’t know if, in fact, he does.

In an ideal situation, if Jose Canseco does wish to return to the majors, he would spend a few seasons in the minors, shortening their swings, and to get a feel for his coaching style and ability before taking on a big league position. It may not be glamorous but it will set the tone for his potential future in the majors.

And in case you were wondering if Jose Canseco has a sense of humor about the things he’s done, there’s this little gem floating around the internet.