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Chipper Jones to retire after this year

Jun 15, 2010, 11:48 AM EDT

Chipper Jones swing.jpgUPDATE: O’Brien Reports that Jones is meeting with Bobby Cox and GM Frank Wren today and that afterward he will address the media.  It seems apparent that announcing his retirement is the purpose of the meeting and press conference.

11:00 A.M.: David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution just tweeted that, while unconfirmed, Chipper Jones has told people that he’s going to retire at the end of the season.

This would not shock me. He already made noises about this last season and earlier this season, and he has been a non-factor as the Braves have climbed into first place in the NL East.  When he has played Jones has hit .228/.375/.341.  His primary replacement, Omar Infante, has hit .314/.351/.387.

It would be one thing if the Braves were playing terrible baseball — maybe Jones would feel like he was badly needed or something — but any sensible person in Jones’ position would realize that, however hard it is to admit, the Braves simply don’t need his production anymore.  And though I respect Chipper Jones as a player and am grateful for all of his accomplishments on the field, I look at the $26 million he’s owed for 2011 and 2012 and wonder just how much the team could be improved if it was devoted to finding an outfielder or two. I bet he thinks about that too. At least when he’s not thinking about how nice it would be to spend more time fishing and stuff.

Still no official word from Jones or the team, of course, but let’s speculate about a couple of things.  First point of speculation is not exactly a stretch: if Jones retires after this year, he joins Ken Griffey Jr. as a first-time inductee in 2016.  I think this is a lock. He’s one of the top third basemen of all time, he has an MVP Award, a World Series ring, a reputation for coming up big in big situations, he’s never been accused of PED use and he was the one offensive constant (or at least near-constant) for the Braves’ run of division titles.  I’ll take — and subsequently dismiss — counterarguments in the comments.

Second bit of speculation, but much, much wilder: Chipper Jones gets named as the Braves’ new manager next year.  OK, maybe that needs about ten more “wilds” in front of it, but he’s been at Bobby Cox’s right hand for the past 16 or 17 seasons, he’s smart, and he has what seems like the right kind of temperament to handle the job.

Does he have the desire? Hell if I know, but at least it gives us something to talk about while we wait for Jones and/or the team to either confirm or deny O’Brien’s report.

  1. YankeesfanLen - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    The Chipper-as-Manager will probably go the way of the Mattingly-for-Torre deal. Beloved local hero of long standing but no managerialexperience and the front office will want some kind of track record before turning over a team in contention to a rookie manager.
    Captcha: Stocks Obsolete- Yeah, I’ll liqudate right away and put it in precious metals. Thanks, Hunt brothers.

  2. Jamie - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    If knocking up Hooters waitresses is “smart”, call me Stephen Hawking.

  3. Okobojicat - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    Lots of Braves fans assume he’s a first ballot guy. I don’t think he is. I don’t necessarily think he’s that much better than Dawson (who I’m iffy should be in (and I was the largest Dawson fan you ever met when I was a kid)) or if he’s that much better than Jim Rice.
    .
    He never was a great 3B. He was always very good offensively, but never really the best player offensively in any year. Maybe that’s what you get when your career stretches across Bonds and Pujols eras.
    .
    From B-R.com
    Black Ink Batting – 4 (416), Average HOFer ≈ 27
    Gray Ink Batting – 109 (196), Average HOFer ≈ 144
    Hall of Fame Monitor Batting – 162 (69), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Batting – 65 (22), Average HOFer ≈ 50

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Young people do dumb things. That was 14 years ago. Chipper has been married for ten years now and has three kids.
    Not that being a personal saint is a requirement for a manager. All that is required is good temperament and baseball IQ, and Jones has both of those things.
    As Len points out, what he doesn’t have is experience. That’s likely the biggest hurdle.

  5. OldNo7 - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Chipper needs to be compared against other 3B, and by that measure he easily makes the Hall. 3B is the thinnest position in Cooperstown, if memory serves only nine are in, and Chipper’s stats are better than anyone’s other than Schmidt and Brett.

  6. Megary - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    While it’s easy to hate the Braves, it’s hard to dislike Chipper Jones. If this really is the end of the line for him, then it would be baseball’s loss. Here’s hoping he finds himself a managerial position, a great bench coach, and a way of convincing the Braves brass that he still deserves all that contract $$. Why he can’t player/manage is beyond me.

  7. Steve C - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    “As with the Black Ink, this method penalizes more recent players as they have 14-16 teams per league, while the older players had just 8.”
    “This is another Jamesian creation. It attempts to assess how likely (not how deserving) an active player is to make the Hall of Fame. It’s rough scale is 100 means a good possibility and 130 is a virtual cinch. It isn’t hard and fast, but it does a pretty good job.”
    Jones 83.4 WAR
    Dawson 62.3 WAR
    Rice 56.1 WAR
    Tim Raines 71 WAR

  8. YANKEES1996 - Jun 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    It will be sad to see Chipper hang’em up, but he is a first ballot hall of famer no doubt. He has been an excellent producer and great all around player for the Braves for a lot of years and has anchored the ever changing line up that surrounds him. He was and is a first class guy.

  9. Evan - Jun 15, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Mr. Hawking, I had no idea about the incident. Thanks!

  10. okobojicat - Jun 15, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Hmm, those are different numbers than the B-R.com numbers, but on there Chipper is only 1/2 Win behind Griffey, and Griffey is a first ballot in my mind
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_bat_career.shtml
    So, maybe Chipper does belong in.

  11. Joe C - Jun 15, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    As a Met fan, I just have to tip my hat to Chipper Jones. He was such a clutch hitter against the Mets and really embraced the rivalry between the two teams that has developed over the last ten years. It shows a lot of class for him to forego the last two years of his contract to help the Braves. My only regret is that he never played for the Mets. Congrats to Chipper on a great career and thank God, the Mets don’t have to face him in a big spot again starting next year.

  12. Steve - Jun 15, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    If he actually is announcing his retirement I think it’s pretty refreshing to see an athlete call it a career when he still has something left in the tank. I don’t disparage athletes for trying to hang on but there’s something sad about watching a hall of fame player stay in the game until their talent has almost completely eroded.

  13. stewart,floyd - Jun 15, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    After watching this Mr. Jones perform for a number of years, I would think the front office would serious consider giving him a two contract for that position with the recommdations of others managers.

  14. Robb - Jun 15, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Craig, I’m with you all the way on Chipper’s greatness and hall of fame lock, up until the Chipper as manager speculation. Maybe a coach, or even a manager in the minors until he’s got some experience. But the Braves are way too savvy to take that crazy of a chance just to reward an admitted all time great. Besides, if they skip over Terry Pendleton for the manager’s job, that will go down as an all time blunder.

  15. Scott - Jun 15, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Chipper Jones is 2nd all time in OPS for 3rd basemen (next to A-Rod, who has his decline years ahead of him). He is one of the best hitting switch-hitters of all time and his career OBP is above .400. First ballot.

  16. nps6724 - Jun 15, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Chipper is a surefire 1st-ballot HOF. One of the 5 best switch hitters of all-time (along with Rose, Mantle, and Murray), one of the 10 best 3B of all-time, he’s been an MVP, he’s won a World Series, and he was one of the stalwarts of a team that won 14 consecutive division titles.

    WAR for HOF 3B
    Mel Ott 109.3
    Mike Schmidt 108.3
    Eddie Mathews 98.3
    Wade Boggs 89.0
    George Brett 85
    *Chipper Jones 77.8*
    Brooks Robinson 59.1

    If he retired today, he has 482 2B (69th in MLB history), 429 HR (39th), .4056 OBP (45th), 142 adjusted OPS+ (tied for 60th), 1467 RBI (53rd), 4287 total bases (54th), 612.728 RE24 (15th), and 54.06 WPA (22nd).

  17. roy hobbs - Jun 15, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Chipper is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. The only switch-hitter in MLB history with 300 HRs & a career .300 average. He’s won a batting title, an MVP award, helped lead the Braves to numerous division titles and a WS ring. If he played for the Yankees, this would not even be a debate. If he’s not a HOFer, there shouldn’t be one.

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