Word came out of the Braves spring training that Chipper Jones is once again mulling over retirement. Jones said this to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien.
I’ve said it a million times, it’s hell getting old. … The body is starting to tell me every morning when I wake up that it’s getting close. 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 has been injured many times over the past few years including a torn ACL at the end of the 2010 season that many thought would be the end of his illustrious career. He hasn’t played however in more than 143 games since 2003, a streak that is almost assured to continue based on Chipper’s statement.
Why should Chipper stick around though? The Braves have a team that is poised to make a run into the playoffs and Jones will still play a key mentor role to young players like Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. Plus, it would be a nice touch for Jones to bookend his career with World Series rings after winning one in his rookie year of 1995. Fredi Gonzalez though, may have to seriously think about moving Jones from the middle of the lineup for the Braves offense to be good enough.
Jones has already left an indelible mark on the Braves, the only team he has known in his career. He will also go down as one of the greatest switch-hitters of all-time. Jones has an MVP award, a batting title, and is one of only three switch-hitters with more than 400 home runs in his career. He has nothing left to prove and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Sometimes, it’s just hard to let the game you love go.
2PM Update: According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, his quotes were in jest