Keeping Chipper In Atlanta

Written by Jonathan on January 25, 2009 – 1:00 am

Chipper Jones is entering the final year of his contract with the Atlanta Braves and has made it clear over the past few days that he, without a doubt, wants to spend the entirety of his career with the club. He was selected by the Braves as the first overall pick in the first-year player draft back in 1990.  This is the only club that Chipper has ever played for and has repeatedly made it known that he has no desire to go elsewhere.

I think there was little question to any fans that there would be any problems with that happening until a couple of weeks ago with the departure of John Smoltz to the Boston Red Sox.  At that point in time, Chipper shared many of the same frustrations as the fans.  It’s taken a little bit of time for the emotions to calm down, but with the help of a few pitching signings, everyone is slowly getting back to the business that is baseball and trying to move on with the offseason.

Though approaching his 37th birthday, Jones is the reigning National League batting champion, batting .364 and slugging .574 in the 2008 season.  Over the past 3 seasons, he has also led all of Major League Baseball with a .342 batting average.  The downside to Chipper’s aging body is his tendency to come down with injuries throughout the season.  In the past season, he has played in an average of 124 games and made a collective five trips to the disabled list.  Despite this, he remains confident that he will remain productive on the field at the age of 40, and as far as I’m concerned, has done nothing to prove otherwise through the past couple of seasons.

Staying in Atlanta has always been the number one priority for Chipper.  In 2006, he agreed to alter his contract and sacrifice up to $15 million in potential earnings for the guarantee that he would be staying in Atlanta at least through the end of the 2008 season.  With his production last season, Chipper’s $11 million option for the 2009 season has vested.  It has never been completely about the money, but rather the chance to remain and play for the fans that have been with him for his entire career.

Though Frank Wren told Chipper last September that he hoped to work out a contract extension as soon as possible, it’s understandable that the focus of the club has been elsewhere this offseason.  With trying to sign new pitching and the potential of adding some power to the lineup, Jones understands that Wren’s primary objectives have been outside of a contract extension.  With the season rapidly approaching though, Chipper’s outlook on the process remains the same.  He has repeatedly said that he would not negotiate a contract mid-season again due to the amount of distraction that it provides from trying to play baseball.  Hopefully the front office and Chipper can get something worked out soon and the focus can shift to the season at hand.

I realize that the Braves may be hesitant to offer Jones an overly extended contract, but Chipper is only looking for a fair-priced, three-year contract from the Braves.  I can’t forsee any reason why he has not earned that respect in the eyes of the front office of the club.  He is truly a face of the Atlanta Braves and it would be the biggest shame to see him part ways and play for another team.  Without a doubt, if the Braves don’t extend and re-sign Chipper’s contract, he would pull huge interest from many other teams who know just how productive he can be despite his age.  Losing Smoltz and Chipper in back-to-back seasons is just not an option for Braves fans.


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13 Responses to “Keeping Chipper In Atlanta”

  1. By Larry on Jan 25, 2009 | Reply

    Chipper is my all time favorite Brave. I really hope this extension gets done. I think with a three year extension he will still be productive at the end of it. At age 36 and 37 he has competed for and won batting titles. Without Prado having a definitive role on the team, I think he could be used to give Chipper a day off now and again keeping him fresh. I still look for chipper to be very competitive in Major league baseball for the next few years. I hope this gets done soon.

  2. By dave on Jan 25, 2009 | Reply

    There is only one answer and one answer only GET IT DONE! WE have let one legend get away we cannot afford to let this happen. The man wants to stay so do what you have to do, loyalty is a rare thing in sports this day and time. I have always admired chipper as a player, and now I admire him even more for showing the type person he is, by wanting to remain a Brave his entire career. It is not like he is a has been it will be money well spent. In sports terms I believe it will be a bargain. Whatever the cost is, because Chipper has always been fair this kind of loyalty is rare. God bless

  3. By Colin Ake on Jan 25, 2009 | Reply

    We have got to extend Chipper's contract… I can't take Smoltzie and Chipper leaving back-to-back. I'd cry.

  4. By Tim on Jan 25, 2009 | Reply

    I already cried when Smoltz left. If Chipper leaves I don't know what I'd do. Chipper is going to make 11 mil this year. I don't see why Frank Wren can't give Chipper a 3 year extenstion worth 10 or 11 million a year. I'm sure Chipper would take it in a heart beat.

  5. By dave on Jan 26, 2009 | Reply

    I believe when Chipper leaves this game it will be with integrity, and I pray when he does leave he will have been a Brave his entire career. He deserves this honor. Mr. Wren we do not want a repeat of what happened with John Smoltz. I agree with what you folks have said it is a shame John was not paid to stay in Atlanta. I think he will show the people in Boston what a quality pitcher, and quality person he is. DO not let this happen with Chipper he is quality too. God bless

  6. By keith on Jan 27, 2009 | Reply

    Chipper can still hit with the best of them. Sign him to three years and be done with it. Even if the guy only 3/4's of the season, he still one of the most productive 3rd baseman in the majors.

  7. By Josh on Jan 30, 2009 | Reply

    I would be very, very, very pissed and I don't even like chipper that much as a Braves fan, but he does a great job and I would love to have him back for the remainder of his career. I think it would be sweet of him to take a pay cut to help supply the braves with some money to sign somebody big but Im pretty sure that would never happen ever.

    Go Braves!!

  8. By Darion on Jan 30, 2009 | Reply

    The Braves should sign Chipper to a 3 year deal worth 6-10 million with an option. A guaranteed 18-20MM with bonuses that could bring it up around 4MM sounds right to me. We just need to make sure he is in a Braves Uni until he retires. I think we will hear about an extension soon.
    http://darion.mlblogs.com/

  9. By Dale on Jan 30, 2009 | Reply

    Chipper is a thorn in the Braves side, he is a great ball player but has a bad attitude and is the biggest whiner on the team..How often you see him out there shaking hands after a win??? Why because he is in his truck high tailing it up 85/75 heading home. He is all about Chipper! Guys like Smoltz and Hudson are on the DL but still out there till the end and congratulating there teammates after a win! Not Larry Wayne Jones…he is on his way home, he already put in his hours..Notice how he always goes on the DL when the Braves go on the skids?? Because he doesnt want to be part of a loosing team and away from the blame…..Let him go and get a ballplayer with HEART !! Someone who wants to play and isn't crying about being hurt half the time…

  10. By Brian on Jan 31, 2009 | Reply

    Dude i got just two things to say about what you think about Chipper 1. you are damn stupid! 2. you dont know chipper like a true braves fan does so shut your mouth. everyone knows chipper is coming to the tail end of his career and nagging injuries come with that. when he is out there , their isnt many better with the stick so we need him !!!

  11. By Colin Ake on Jan 31, 2009 | Reply

    I entirely disagree with that assessment of Chipper, Dale. Chipper has repeatedly come out and gotten in touch with the fans recently – he's reaching out, he cares about the Braves, the fans, and his teammates. I don't think that Chipper is an uncaring, selfish person.

    It's my opinion – but he does care about the game, he does play his heart out, and he does a pretty darn good job at it. I'd keep Chipper on the team as long as he wants to stay around and can produce.

  12. By JimK on Jan 31, 2009 | Reply

    Yes, extend him three years (through age 40). Given our measly development of 3Bs, I'd also suggest a 4th year with deal like Varitek's. That's a team option at a higher number, a player option at a lower figure, and games played based incentives to cover the difference.

  13. By F-Man on Jan 31, 2009 | Reply

    Chipper is the face of the Braves. I think it's unfortunate that now his value is being judged by his age and games played in a season. There is no way that you can let go of this guy. I wasn't too broken hearted over Smoltz, but if Chipper leaves, that would be devastating.

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