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Chipper Jones plans to return next season

Aug 19, 2011, 10:16 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

Chipper Jones has mentioned the possibility of retirement in the past, leading some to speculate that he would consider walking away following this season. Well, he told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier today that he has every intention of honoring the final guaranteed year on his contract.

“I’m playing next year,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday. “I still feel like I can go out there and play a good third base and be a threat, at least, at the plate. I’m having a good defensive year and the [batting] average is on the rise.”

Jones, who turns 40 next April, is owed $13 million next season in the final guaranteed year of his three-year, $42 million contract extension. His contract includes a club option for 2013, though it could automatically vest if he appears in 123 games next season or averages 127 games played between 2011 and 2012. Jones hasn’t ruled out playing in 2013, but will wait until next season to decide.

While Jones has battled the regular bumps and bruises this season and missed three weeks following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, the switch-hitting third baseman is batting .275/.347/.466 with 12 homers, 56 RBI and an .813 OPS over 336 plate appearances. In fact, he has homered in each of the past two nights. Compare that to average major league third baseman, who has an ugly .248/.312/.379 batting line and a .691 OPS. He’ll stick around as long as he’s still healthy enough to hit.

  1. braddavery - Aug 19, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    I so want to see Chipper reach 500 homeruns and 3,000 hits. Please stick around Chipper for a few more year, Chipper.

    • hittfamily - Aug 19, 2011 at 11:20 PM

      I’d like to see him reach 500 saves, but none of those are going to happen :)

      He is a first balloter, but there’s no way he gets another 400 hits or 50 home runs.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 20, 2011 at 12:19 AM

        If you use Julio Franco as a benchmark Chipper still has another 10 years of big league ball in him. That’s 5 HR and 40 hits a season. He could do that in a wheelchair if he needs to to…..

      • hittfamily - Aug 20, 2011 at 1:15 AM

        Let me amend my statement. He could hit 50 more homers and 400 hits, but he won’t. I don’t see any circumstance that has Chipper playing in 2014. He is too high class to mail it in and chase a number.

  2. hittfamily - Aug 19, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    When Placido Polanco represents the NL in the All Star game, Chipper Jones can play as long as he wants. That’s not a shot on Polanco, because he was the best choice. It’s a shot on all third baseman not playing in New York, Boston, Tampa, San Fran, Atlanta, Washington and Philly.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 19, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    Larry’s a lock hall of famer, or at least he should be, so he doesn’t need to bolster his candidacy. He just seems like a pretty good guy, and as much as I can’t stand the Bravos, he was a guy I always liked…especially when he was fighting with those nasty Mutts fans.

    • hittfamily - Aug 19, 2011 at 11:26 PM

      Agreed. It was hard to root against he guy. He was my definition of what a ballplayer should be. Show up hurt with a smile on your face. He might have been the best 5 tool guy since Mays (throw Arod and Jr in too). Great arm, great speed when he was young, played whatever position he was penciled in to. I was never surprised when he .330 in a year, or hit 35 home runs.

  4. Old Gator - Aug 20, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Ted Williams was hoping to return next season, too.

  5. raysfan1 - Aug 20, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    I could see him cintinuing to play as long as he’s either a starter or at least in a regular platoon with the Braves. I really don’t see him squeezing out one more year with a nother team or being a bench-rider. His skills haven’t hit a wall, but a significant injury could make him or the team decide to look elsewhere. I believe he’ll play in 2013 if he stays relatively healthy next year.

  6. irishjackmp - Aug 20, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    I like Jones as much as the next guy but let’s face it… there isn’t a team in baseball that would be willing to give a guy a 3 year/$14m a year for fading production* … especially knowing he will probably miss 1/3 of the season with nagging injuries. I don’t know what the Braves were thinking when they gave him his deal at the age they did.

    (*exclusions apply to Yankee shortstops of course)

  7. nlfan865 - Aug 21, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    most dont understand the relationship that this man jones has with the atlanta organization…he has taken less money to stay and i believe he has even restructured his contract to help out the organization on one occasion…he is only one of a handfull of players to be with the same team from draft day till retirement and he will be a coach for this team the very next season and will be around for a long time…. you can count on that

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