The Braves announced on Thursday that former NL MVP and likely Hall of Famer Chipper Jones has joined the front office as a special assistant to GM John Coppolella and president of baseball operations John Hart. Jones, who retired in 2012, will serve as an instructor in Spring Training, assist Braves hitters during the regular season, assist in amateur scouting in advance of the June draft and evaluate/instruct minor leaguers throughout the organization in his new role. Said Coppolella of the addition (via press release): “[Jones] brings a wealth of experience – from being a number one overall draft pick, to having a highly-successful career as a World Series champion, a league MVP and a batting champion, to coming back from major injuries. Chipper spent his entire Hall-of-Fame caliber career in a Braves uniform and we look forward to his input with our staff and with our hitters.” Indeed, Chipper seems Cooperstown-bound after wrapping up his career with a lifetime .303/.401/.529 batting line, 468 homers, eight All-Star appearances, an MVP Award, two Silver Slugger Awards and 85 wins above replacement across a brilliant 19-year career.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- Joe Frisaro of MLB.com gets the sense that the Marlins don’t see the Dodgers as a fit for Jose Fernandez (Twitter link). Then again, he writes, Fernandez is highly unlikely to get traded anywhere. There’s been quite a bit of speculation connecting the Dodgers to the Marlins’ young ace recently, especially in light of the club’s acquisition of three new prospects in the three-team Todd Frazier deal.
- The Mets have checked in on Ryan Raburn, according to Matt Ehalt of The Bergen Record (on Twitter). Raburn would make a lot of sense for the Mets as a backup first baseman/outfielder, he adds, which makes sense given the left-on-left struggles we’ve seen from Curtis Granderson and, to a lesser extent, Lucas Duda (although Duda’s success against lefties in 2015 was heavily BABIP-driven). Raburn, 35 next April, batted .301/.393/.543 with eight home runs in 201 plate appearances. Despite those outstanding numbers (which were the result of extreme platooning), the Indians declined their $3MM option for him.
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com notes (on Twitter) that there should be some interesting bullpen competition brewing in Phillies camp thanks to the additions of non-roster vets James Russell, Ernesto Frieri, Andrew Bailey, and Edward Mujica. (Bailey and Mujica are the newest additions to that mix, having agreed to deals on Thursday.) The bullpen picture in Philadelphia does indeed appear to be very open following trades that have seen Jonathan Papelbon, Jake Diekman and Ken Giles depart over the past five months. As it currently stands, the only pitcher on the Phillies’ bullpen depth chart at MLB.com that have even thrown 100 career innings are David Hernandez, Jeanmar Gomez and Luis Garcia (who barely reaches that threshold, with 112 innings under his belt). That could indeed open the door for veterans to make the club — any of whom could ultimately pitch his way into status as a trade chip.
Zach Links contributed to this post.