Chipper Talks Retirement

TUESDAY: Jones said yesterday that he's not sure if he'll make it through the season, but he was just joking, according to's Mark Bowman"It was tongue and cheek. I was kidding," Jones said. "I just got done playing eight innings with three at-bats. I was a little tired. I wasn't by any means suggesting I couldn't make it through the season."

MONDAY: Chipper Jones spoke to reporters today (including David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) about his health and future in the game, and the veteran third baseman sounded less than optimistic about both topics.

"The body is starting to tell me every morning when I wake up that [retirement] is getting close," Jones said.  "I’m signed through the end of this year. If I play in a certain amount of games, I got an option for next year. I don’t know what next year entails….I don’t know if I can make it through this year."

Jones turns 40 in April and has been hinting about retirement for the last two seasons, so it's perhaps no surprise that he seems to be leaning towards hanging up his cleats after 2012.  Then again, Jones didn't retire in 2010 nor after last season, so he could easily once again change his mind once he works through the offseason rust.

The big reason for me coming back was my teammates wanted me to come back,” Jones said. “I still feel like I can be a productive major leaguer. We’ll give it this year and see how it feels.”

This is the last guaranteed season of Jones' contract with the Braves, who hold a $7MM option on their long-time star for 2013.  That option will vest (and grow to $9MM) should Jones play in 123 games this season.  He has passed the 123-game mark four times in the last seven years, including playing 126 games in 2011.  Jones missed time last season due to arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, the fifth overall surgery he's endured on his knees.

"As I alluded to earlier, this game is going to wear you down, whether you have major injuries such as two torn ACLs, meniscus tears – I’ve got no meniscus in the right knee," Jones said. "That takes its toll. I’ve got to go when I can go and tell Fredi [Gonzalez] when I can’t.”

Martin Prado is Atlanta's primary backup option at third base.  Jones' questionable physical condition is no doubt a major reason why the Braves held onto Prado despite a plethora of trade rumors this winter.

64 Responses to Chipper Talks Retirement Leave a Reply

  1. CandyMaldonadoLand 3 years ago

    I was hoping he’d play until he was 48-49. Yeah, that’s a terrible idea…

  2. Introducing the Braves 2013 third baseman:  Martin Prado.

  3. Rabbitov 3 years ago

    One of the all time greats, and a hall of fame lock but its time for him to go.  You have to think about the human aspect of being injured every year, it really takes a massive toll.  

  4. I didn’t realize how productive he was last season, .275 with 18hr in an injured season. If he could have put in a few more games, he could have had 25hr. He can clearly still play, i don’t think he should hang them up next year, even though he probably will.

    • 3rd base was abysmal last year and Chipper played a pretty good hot corner when he was in there.  Pre and post arthroscopic surgery he was among the top 3rd base performers in 2011.

  5. tomymogo 3 years ago

    I hate it, but truthfully, he should have retired earlier, maybe that way they could have gotten Carlos Quentin. Braves need some LF power

    • CT 3 years ago

      Based on what?  He’s been pretty productive when he’s played, especially in his late 30’s.  Also Carlos Quentin plays terrible defense and had one good year with the WhiteSox.  I’d rather have Chipper at 3rd, than Quentin in LF

  6. MLB_in_the_Know 3 years ago

    I am a life long Braves fan and Chipper Jones is my favorite active player, however I have been debating for the past couple of years if I wanted him to retire for the organization’s health. 
    He is a great player when healthy, but he isn’t healthy enough.

    His presence on the team hinders the rest of the roster. We need to have Prado on the roster to be able to back him up. However, we pay Prado to much to have him be a backup player, so he must be the starting LF on days that Chipper isn’t hurt. 

    If Chipper did retire after last season, we could have pursued A-Ram to play 3B and traded Prado + pitching for a legitimate LF threat. 

  7. While he’s been a great player and the face of our Bravo’s, it’s time.  100-120ish games a year is really a handcuff for us.  It forces Martin in from LF and leaves us with Constanza, Diaz, and Hinske roaming LF.  Not something I want to see for 1/3 of the season.  I’d love to see him in the dugout in some capacity though.

    I hope Chipper gets his AB’s and has a great year but that 9M, if his option vests, could be spent in so many other ways to improve our team.  O’Flaherty and Venters are close to arbitration and as much as our bullpen is used, it’d be nice to know those two are locked up.  The extra money may help to retain Bourn as well and/or go after an everyday LF.

    • “as much as our bullpen is used” might be a reason not to lock their tired arms up at that point. Fredi’s got to relieve those three relievers during the course of the season. Sorry to rant but that is a sore spot with me, how our pen is used.

      •  I completely agree with how over used they are.  My theory is that O’Flaherty and Venters have proven themselves thus far and I’d much rather fork out the money to keep them.  I’d love to see our starters make it out of the 6th more than once a week, so maybe ***crosses fingers*** well see them make it into the 7th 2-3 times a week.

      • Clayton Wilson 3 years ago

        I hate to defend Fredi here, but the Braves played in more extra-innings games than any team in baseball last season(and possibly in recent memory). The Braves offense was just too pathetic last year, the bullpen was a HUGE reason they managed 89 wins. They were overused, but what else can you do in a situation like that? In a close ballgame, you gotta go with who you can trust. Braves played WAY too many close games. There were times when he misused those guys, but he was more or less forced to overwork them with Moylan and Medlen out of the picture for 90% of the season.

        • Michael Gardiner 3 years ago

          No point mentioning logic. People do not care. I think it was the most extra inning games in like 4 years or something like that. It wasnt just extra inning games though. It was a lot of 1-run or 2-run games as well. Either way to keep the lead or to keep the deficit where it was at. While people say well the starters could have gone longer. Not really they were usually at 95 pitches by that time anyways.

  8. inkstainedscribe 3 years ago

    Wishful thinking, perhaps, but Prado at 3B, Simmons at SS, Pastornicky at 2B, and Uggla in LF?

    • I figure next season will look something like this:  McCann Catching, Freeman at 1st, Uggla at 2b, Prado at 3b, Pastornicky/Simmons at SS, Heyward RF, ??? in CF, and Nick Swisher in LF. 

    • Uggla in LF sounds horrifying to me. I’d rather overpay for David Wright or try moving Freeman to left/trading him.

      Pastor/Simmons up the middle doesn’t sound too bad though.

      • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

         Uggla if LF sounds horrifying to you, but Freeman in LF doesn’t?

        • Clayton Wilson 3 years ago

          I imagine Freeman would be better in the outfield than Uggla. Neither have much range, but Freeman just seems to have a better feel of the game on the defensive end, despite the difference in age and experience. Both would be butchers though, yeah.

          • Jeff 3 years ago

            Who would you put at 1B?  I’d still love to see the Braves try to get Morales from the Angels in such a scenario- but he’d be too valuable after this year (I just have a feeeling on him that he’ll end up a .380 OBP guy)

          • Clayton Wilson 3 years ago

            Oh, I was just responding to the hypothetical on who’d be the better outfielder between Uggla and Freeman.

            I’m pretty happy with Freeman at 1B, and there’s no way he’s moved to the outfield anyway.

      • Cosmo3 3 years ago

        More horrifying than Ugla at 2nd base? 

      • 14 Rocks 3 years ago

        Freeman is 6′ 5″ 250 lbs with a bad knee and no range.  There is NO WAY he could play LF.  Even Dan Uggla has more range than Freeman, and that’s scary.

  9. MLB1977 3 years ago

    One of the good guys all around.

  10. NYBravosFan10 3 years ago

    I’m gonna be heartbroken when Chipper retires but I understand that the guy can’t play forever…

  11. Lastings 3 years ago

    “I don’t know if I can make it through this year.”

    Now, that’s an encouraging way to start the season…

  12. Lucas Carr 3 years ago

    Who cares about the 9 million next year, what about the 15 million hes been making for several years without producing for that kind of money.  Just think of the players at 3rd you can get for that kind of money, or 2 decent players you can get for that kind of money.  Its time for him to retire 3 years ago and take up as a hitting coach.

    • Shawn Baublitz 3 years ago

      Well if you go by WAR
      2011 – 2.1 
      2010 – 2.9
      2009 – 2.8
      2008 – 7.5
      2007 – 7.5

      So he has 22.8 WAR (averaged 4.56) for the last 5 years. At $5 mil per year he should have made $114 mil. So I think he has earned it overall.

    •  While I agree that he’s made a ton of money in comparison to his production the past few seasons, he’s also work with the front office to restructure his contract to help the team stay competitive, most notably in 2005.  He also willingly moved to LF to make room for Vinny Castilla.  The man has more than earned his paycheck….even if I do think it’s time for him to hang it up.

    • smt1 3 years ago

      As expensive he’s been the last few years, he was ridiculously cheap in the years before that relative to his production. Instead of a $20 million+ player, he only cost $12 mill. 

  13. Maverick60 3 years ago

    I think the talk of him hurting the team is a little over blown. He isn’t cheap, but there are not a lot of upgrades out there that are going to be much cheaper. If he retired after 2010 and prado had the injury filled season he had, what would they have done? Had Jack Willson at third and whatever they would have pulled from a weak LF market last offseason. I’m not buying that they would have been better off without him in there.

  14. Matt Talbert 3 years ago

    That would be ok with me of course.

  15. $3866193 3 years ago

    For as long as I’ve been a Braves fan, there’s always been Chipper at 3B (well, and in LF for a couple years).  It’ll be a sad day when there isn’t a Jones in the lineup.

  16. Matrix9381 3 years ago

    As much as I respect Chipper and enjoyed watching him play for us. Next year he should become our Hitting coach, he is switch handed, how can u go wrong with that? It was mentioned on the news in Atlanta that he told local media that TOMORROW could be his last day, they he could possibly retire. I can see at the end of the year the Braves getting Nick Swisher for Left, obviously Prado would be our new 3rd baseman. It would be nice to see Bourn back in center for 2013 and beyond. Wishful thinking I know, BUT, how great it would be to see Bautista from the Blue Jays in a Braves Uni next year. I see the Braves having somewhere around $15-$36 million to spend next offseason so it COULD be done. But, they need to lock up McCann with a 4-5 year contract.
    we could have this as a lineup next year NOT IN BATTING ORDER OF COURSE.

    C – McCann
    1 – Freeman
    2 – Uggla
    3 – Prado/Bautista
    SS – Pastornicky/Simmons
    RF – Heyward
    Center – Bourn/Prado/Bautista
    LF – Swisher

    Just a thought, throwing it out there for critque.

    • Clayton Wilson 3 years ago

       There is no chance the Blue Jays trade Bautista unless they’re offered a package of Freeman, Heyward, Teheran, and one of Beachy, Delgado, or Minor. Doesn’t matter how much money the Braves have to spend. Don’t see McCann being locked up for just 4 or 5 years either.

      Swisher I can see though, he’s exactly the kind of player the Braves front-office would target.

      • Matrix9381 3 years ago

        Let me repeat, I did say, wishful thinking about Bautista. It would take a lesser package than that I think anyways. Still would be nice to see him in a Braves uniform.

        • bravesfansince1990 3 years ago

          Prado playing Center deserves a LOL, Bautista being mentioned deserves your post being removed! Harsh I know….

          • Encarnacion's Parrot 3 years ago

            I think it’s funny he thinks the Braves could get Bautista and keep Heyward.

            Regardless, there are certain players that are untouchable solely due to the fact that no amount of value would be suitable of a return. It’s no better than fantasizing the Cardinals trading Pujols a few years back for spare parts.

  17. bravesfansince1990 3 years ago

    I have watched Chipper play for the past 20 years and it has been nothing short of spectacular. I felt that last year should have been his last year and not because of his bat but because of his declining D. He cant man the hot corner that well and watching him hurts me, because he looks like he is in constant pain. If it plays out like the fairy-tale we want for him and as braves fans he will win a ring this year and retire on top, but Chipper should play the home opener and tip his cap, then the whole team rallies the whole entire season and goes on to win the whole thing in honor of Chippers greatness!! 

  18. I thought Chipper was going to retire, like, two years ago?

    • NL_East_Rivalry 3 years ago

       Chipper said 2 years ago that if he doesn’t play well he will retire. Chipper played well, but was just injured. He didn’t say if he missed a lot of games he would retire, he said he would retire if he felt he couldn’t be productive.

  19. Scott 3 years ago

    Jeez. Get to the Chippahhhhh!

  20. 14 Rocks 3 years ago

    This is exactly why I was 100% against trading Martin Prado during the winter.  He has way too much value as the primary back-up for Chipper. 

    The Braves have no really good 3B prospects in the minors (please don’t say Joe Terdoslavich who Dave O’Brien repeatedly has overhyped).  Martin is the heir apparent to Chipper at 3B until the Braves either trade for or develop a future 3B.  They need to draft a bunch of 3B and LF prospects in the draft his June and hope 1 or 2 of them sticks.   By the way, it’s too bad the Braves wouldn’t pay Anthony Rendon the 1M bonus he wanted a few years ago when they drafted him.  He would be ready now to step in for Chipper.

  21. cheez13 3 years ago

    Not a HOFer?…now we are getting into another discussion.

    Defensively is where he struggles but Prado is no a gold glove 3B either. Chipper is an above average ML hitter (even last year, his OPS and OBP is well above league average)..if he plays 120 games then the Braves are fine. Had he retired, they would have moved Prado to 3B and had to find a LF…there weren’t exactly a ton of them out there that were available. For now, this is still their best option…very few corner OFers available next year as well. Thats why they have been linked to Swisher, he is one the very few that will be out there.

    As far as HOF…several top 10 MVP finishes, a few more top 20, he won an MVP and a batting title and a world series. Career .300 hitter, .400 OBP, 900+ OPS. Over 100 RBI 9 or 10 times (I think 8 in a row), over 20 HR’s 14 yrs (I believe in a row- including 30+ HRS several times), over 1.000 OPS in 5 seasons. Basically, over the course of his 8-10 prime years…he was one the best 10 players in the NL. Isn’t being an elite player the #1 requirement.

    Being a switch hitter doesn’t hurt….since he is one of the best ever switch hitters. I don’t see where that matters but some people do. Like saying somehow is the best LH pitcher…I don’t care if there are 100 better RH pitchers.

    • Jeff 3 years ago

      This was largely during an inflated offense era (not saying at all I suspect Chipper did anything of the sort, there’s never been any allegations, and Chipper if anything undertrained during his career)

      That said, he’s still a first-ballot HOFer.  MVP candidate repeatedly , best player or 2nd best position player on 14 straight division winners, elite player for several years.  He regressed to being a solid player after his batting title, but he’s not Willie Mays stumbling around out there these days, he’s still a decent contributor.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        ” but he’s not Willie Mays stumbling around out there these days”

        Not exactly sure what that is supposed to mean, but Jones.. In no way PERIOD matches up to the Great Willie Mays.. Even when mays played his last 2 (and only sub par) seasons at the age of 42/43.. Mays career far, far outshines anything Jones has put up..

        Just stop with the Jones homerism there….

  22. Eduardo Medina 3 years ago

    I have only one baseball card in my drawer…Chipper Jones´s Rookie card

  23. migueljablonski 3 years ago

    Im tired of Chippers constant comments about retirement, but I’m more tired of DOB’s crap reporting and his surly tone.

    I don’t even think he likes his job anymore. he tries to piss off Chipper all the time quoting him about retirement, he’s jumped the gun on a few announcements that didnt happen, he always seems perturbed, and he communicates poorly w anyone who has a differing opinion.

    chipper is productive but oft injured. he has a hitting acumen that could take him well into his 40’s, but his body is handcuffing erryone

    take em both out to pasture

  24. mattynokes 3 years ago

    Maybe it falls on the reporters who seemingly ask him about retirement every other day? I mean wouldn’t you start getting annoyed if you’re asked the same stuff over and over? I know I would.

    From what I read on a Braves message board the question wasn’t asked by DOB (he left to talk to other players), it was two non-Braves reporters and DOB simply used their notes. I can definitely see where Chipper got tired with the retirement questions and replied in a sarcastic, joking manner.

    I don’t see Chipper being one to put himself above the team. He’s re-structured his contract over the years to help the Braves payroll issues and has said over and over that if he feels he can’t perform, he’ll retire.

    And let’s not freak out over his 0-for-8 start to the spring. It’s much better to struggle in the first few weeks of the spring rather than when games actually matter. If he has a good season in 2012, he’ll return for 2013. If not, he’ll retire. It’s as simple as that.

  25. tomymogo 3 years ago

    or manager

  26. Jared Patterson 3 years ago

    Oh hi there Mets fan.

  27. 14 Rocks 3 years ago

    LOL!!! Chipper is a first ballot HOF and it isn’t even close.

  28. lol chipper is a career .304 hitter .402 obp .533 slg. Most players can’t even get those numbers in one season. Also has 454 career home runs, a 7 time all star, 2 time silver slugger, MVP award winner, won batting title at age 36, and he’s a switch hitter. FourFeathers is clearly delusional

  29. You are a very small HOF guy then.  How many other than Ruth, Mays, Hank, Gehrig, etc. do you approve of then?

  30. NL_East_Rivalry 3 years ago

     ” “talk him out of retirement” ” ??? He has never said he will retire or is going to retire. Every talk of him retiring has been him saying if he doesn’t feel he is productive he will retire. This is the first time it’s spoken of his health and we don’t know if it was spoken as a joke or not.

  31. NL_East_Rivalry 3 years ago

    I am not hyper defensive, I just dislike it when people talk like Chipper as if he was Bret Farve. Yes they both were talking about retirement, but the comparisons end there. Chipper has never retired or said he was going to.

    Edit: Chipper has mentioned retirement 1 time each year because each year the media wants to know about it.

  32. Drew Tweedie 3 years ago

    I agree, how dare that eighteen-year MLB veteran and thirty-nine year old athlete talk about retirement. The nerve!

  33. Eduardo Medina 3 years ago

    Maybe you should name your son Larry, because this guy is all over your head dude, let it go…

  34. Eduardo Medina 3 years ago

    Maybe you should name your son Larry, because this guy is all over your head dude, let it go…

  35. Yes, it can, because non-FA values aren’t used in the tabulations. So, when you’re evaluating a player past his arbitration years, it actually comes out really close linearly.

    If you don’t believe it, take a look at CC Sabathia’s contract. Factoring aging, his new contract comes out almost exactly even with his projected WAR for the timeframe.

    Fans aren’t the only people using WAR/$ to evaluate players’ worth.


  36. Clayton Wilson 3 years ago

    Disagree. Uggla technically already bounced-back, they just need him to not go missing in the first half of the season. They were 5th in the league in runs per game in 2010 with this same team, I think they can get close to that level of production this season.

    If they stumble out of the gate, think about moving an arm or two. If they get back to hitting like they’re capable of hitting, they’re good to go. I really didn’t mind the ‘wait and see’ approach by Wren, despite the collapse last season. Is it all that unreasonable to expect better seasons out of Heyward, Uggla, and Prado? They’ll have a full season of Bourn and hopefully a SS who can post an OBP above .300, though whoever mans the position will be a defensive downgrade. They have plenty of trade chips should they need another bat…..

  37. LayerCake 3 years ago

    Goose Gossage for his stache alone

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