Chipper Jones Rumors
We can put the speculation to rest, Chipper Jones has told Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal Constitution that he will play in 2012. There had been some belief that Jones would walk away after another injury interrupted year.
"I'm playing next year," said Chipper. "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 average is on the rise."
Jones, 39, is under contract for $13MM next season. The team holds a $7MM club option for his services in 2013, though that can vest and/or increase in value based on various games played incentives. Chipper did not rule out playing in 2013, but did say he'll wait until next year to make that decision. He's hitting .271/.345/.455 with 11 homers in 374 plate appearances this year.
In his Baseball Notes column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo says baseball stadiums should dial back the between-innings entertainment, arguing that the on-field action is engaging enough. He also has a few hot stove notes to share:
- An American League scout says if the Mets hear an offer they like for Jose Reyes, they'll take it: "They can’t afford not to and let him leave as a free agent and not get value for him."
- Cafardo points out that Rafael Soriano seems unhappy in a setup role and does have an opt-out clause at season's end. However, as Cafardo suggests, it seems extremely unlikely the right-hander would leave $25MM on the table when no other team would match that.
- The Braves would like to add some offensive insurance in case Chipper Jones' knee doesn't hold up all season.
- Brett Myers "seems to have Yankees written all over him," Cafardo says. Once Jim Crane's ownership group officially takes over, the Astros' trade deadline intentions will become clearer. At this point though, it's hard to imagine the team, whose 16-30 record is the National League's worst, not being sellers.
- The Braves are looking to upgrade their bench with another right-handed bat, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The Braves have been on the lookout for such a player throughout the month of March.
- In a wide-ranging Q&A with David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chipper Jones says the hardest part of getting older is that something hurts every day. But fret not, Braves fans - Chipper's knee has been pain-free for three weeks.
- As Tyler Kepner of the New York Times explains, a visit with a wrist surgeon changed the course of Jayson Werth's career a little more than four years ago. The Nationals lured Werth to Washington this offseason, signing him to a $126MM deal.
- Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins tells Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he has six or seven more years of baseball left. The 32-year-old hits free agency after the season.
Here's a potpourri of news items as we head into the weekend...
- Chipper Jones talks to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince about his recovery from knee surgery and his future in baseball. Jones was thinking of retirement last summer before, as Castrovince writes, "he started to hit like Chipper Jones again....And where the knee injury might have been the straw that broke the camel's back in June, in August, it served as a motivating factor to keep going."
- Laynce Nix has the been the subject of trade rumors, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Nix has a .251/.293/.445 career slash line against right-handed pitching and the Astros are reportedly in the market for a left-handed bench bat. Nix is currently in the Nationals' Spring Training camp on a minor league contract.
- Star prospect Mike Trout is turning heads at the Angels' Spring Training camp, reports MLB.com's Lyle Spencer.
- The Rockies will look internally to replace the injured Aaron Cook, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Already suffering from shoulder inflammation, Cook will be out until at least May due to a broken finger on his throwing hand.
- Tyler Kepner of the New York Times looks at the Rangers' offseason and how the team had a more-than-adequate "plan B" (Adrian Beltre) in mind when they failed to re-sign Cliff Lee.
- Jake Odorizzi might end up being the most important piece of the trade package the Royals received for Zack Greinke, says MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
- Mariners manager Eric Wedge has brought a number of former Indians coaches and players with him to Seattle, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Brandon Wood has struggled this spring, while Mark Trumbo has had a big camp for the Angels. Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com thinks Trumbo's emergence means that the out-of-options Wood's "days in an Angels uniform appear to be numbered."
- It was almost a year ago that Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland underwent life-threatening brain surgery. Today, MLB.com's Evan Drellich writes that "doctors have already been amazed at the speed of his recovery" as Westmoreland is trying hard to regain both his basic motor skills and his baseball abilities.
Chipper Jones told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that he and Jim Thome met and complained "like two old grannies" last summer when Jones was struggling and Thome wasn't playing much. Thome finished strong and re-signed with the Twins and Jones is eager to play again, too. Here are the details on Jones and from around the majors:
- Jones says getting rest every week or ten days helps him stay strong throughout the season. The veteran third baseman has only played in 135 games once in the past six seasons because of a variety of injuries, so it makes sense to give him the occasional day off.
- The Phillies tried to sign George Sherrill this winter, before he signed with the rival Braves. Philadelphia sent executive Pat Gillick to see Sherrill and manager Charlie Manuel talked to him, but the left-hander wanted to play within driving distance of his father.
- Joe Torre makes about $2MM in his new job with MLB, according to Olney.
- Gio Gonzalez looks very, very good, according to a scout.
NL East teams have nearly finished their offseason shopping, but could make a move or two while Spring Training is underway. Here are the details...
- Chipper Jones was thinking about retirement last year, but tells Scott Miller of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) that he wants to play until the end of his current contract, which is guaranteed through the 2012 season. The Braves hold a $7MM option on Jones for 2013 which can also vest if Jones plays a certain number of games over the next two seasons.
- Ryan Zimmerman pushed the Nationals to re-sign his friend Adam Dunn, but Zimmerman said his disappointment over Dunn's depature shouldn't be interpreted as criticism of the the club, writes CSNWashington's Mark Zuckerman. "I was just expressing more frustrations of losing a teammate and a friend than anything," Zimmerman said. "I think a lot of people took it as I was taking a stab at [the Nats] or talking bad about them, which was completely the opposite."
- Michael Weiner said the MLBPA was happy with Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies, rather than sign for larger contracts in Texas or New York, tweets Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. "Not only were we not upset Cliff got to go to the Phillies, we applauded him," Weiner said.
- Donald Trump told Alison Leigh Cowan and Ken Belson of the New York Times that he's interested in buying a majority stake in the Mets. Trump says he called Fred Wilpon about two weeks ago to set up a meeting.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says it's "unlikely" that the Mets discuss an extension with Jose Reyes before Opening Day, according to ESPNNewYork's Adam Rubin. Reyes is set to hit free agency after the season and has said he's open to a long-term deal. The $1 billion lawsuit against the Mets owners won't prevent the Mets from signing Reyes to a multiyear deal, Alderson said.
- Jason Isringhausen auditioned for the Mets today, according to Newsday's David Lennon (on Twitter). Alderson and two of his assistants, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta, are familiar with the longtime closer from his time in Oakland. Isringhausen first appeared in the majors as a starter for the Mets in 1995.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney says the Phillies' starters would rather pitch than talk about their place in baseball history.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Braves GM Frank Wren told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he has noticed a “re-emphasis on speed” in baseball over the past five or six years. Wren said he’d like the Braves to transition into a more athletic club, but that’s far from the only interesting comment he made. Here’s the latest:
- Wren says the Braves have “an ample payroll to win” without question. The Mets and Phillies may spend more, but teams like the Rays win with less.
- The Braves discussed trading for Zack Greinke, but decided against it. “We talked about it,” Wren said. “I just think it was going to be cost-prohibitive for us, because some of those players it would have taken to make that deal are players we’re going to be counting on in the next year or two, and we think they’re going to be premium talents at the major league level.”
- Generally speaking, Wren said he is hesitant to trade “productive, game-changing” young players who could have a “huge major league impact in the future.”
- There have not been setbacks between the Braves and Dan Uggla as they discuss an extension. O’Brien suggests the sides will likely reach a five-year deal this offseason.
- Chipper Jones explained to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that his pre-season workouts have been coming along slowly, but steadily. "I'm so out of shape, one of my neighbors caught me dry-heaving on his lawn," Jones said. "We had a nice little chuckle out of it. I grabbed his phone to make sure he didn't take any video and people would see it on YouTube."
Nearly eight weeks after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee, third baseman Chipper Jones told Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com that his recovery is going well. While the veteran's knee won't heal in time for him to play in the National League Championship Series or the World Series, Jones sounds confident that he'll make it back at some point in 2011.
"I don't want the last memory of me to be laying out behind third base. On top of that, I was playing really well and I was swinging the bat really well. I was healthy and I was running the bases good. My frame of mind was really focused. I just want to keep going," said the 38-year-old.
Jones has two years remaining on his deal and is guaranteed to make $13MM for each of those seasons. The Braves hold a $7MM club option for 2013 but that option will automatically vest if the veteran plays in 123 games in 2012 or averages 127 games over the next two years. The six-time All-Star played in 143 games in 2009 but appeared in just 95 this past season.
Links for Friday, before Dan Haren celebrates his 30th birthday by taking on one of baseball's most potent offenses...
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan lists ten decisions that have been critical to the Rangers' success this season.
- The Pirates have released lefty Neal Cotts according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America and this week's edition of minor league transaction.
- Padres' first base coach Rick Renteria is on the Marlins radar with regards to their managerial opening, says MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. He adds that Yankees bench coach Tony Pena is a candidate as well.
- Chipper Jones told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that it would be hard to stop playing before his body prevents him from doing so, partly because “you can make absurd amounts of money” as a baseball player.
- Former Orioles manager Dave Trembley told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that he’d like to coach in the major leagues next year (Twitter link).
- The Pirates' minor league success has been a major positive this year, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette questions how the Pirates also allowed for "near-total destruction of the major-league product." The team is 50 games below .500 with the worst record in baseball.
- Carl Crawford told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that his impending free agency hasn't been hard to handle, since the Rays are winning. Click here for Bradford's analysis of how Crawford would fit in Fenway.
- Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald breaks down Boston's options behind the plate for 2011, from free agents Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek to new acquisition Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
- John Dewan of the Fielding Bible explained to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Adam Dunn's poor defense wouldn't necessarily prevent the Nationals from building a better defensive team.
ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark debated the pros and cons of moving back the trade deadline with a number of MLB general managers. The group was divided on whether to move the deadline to August, but Stark suggests we’re not likely to see MLB make such changes any time soon. Here are some more hot stove updates from around the league:
- One source told Stark that Cliff Lee will follow the money this winter: “Cliff would go to Siberia if they offered him the biggest contract."
- Rival teams expect the Brewers to look into trading Prince Fielder this winter. One executive told Stark that the Brewers were “shocked” not to see more interest in Prince before the trade deadline.
- Braves GM Frank Wren has often jokingly told Billy Wagner that it’s too soon for him to retire. The lefty maintains that his playing days are over after 2010.
- Wren says the Braves are assuming that Chipper Jones, who is under contract next year, will be back in 2011.
- Nationals president Stan Kasten told Stark that Washington will be "more aggressive than we've ever been" this offseason. Presumably that means they’ll try to re-sign Adam Dunn and offer Carl Crawford a contract.