Bout time? Q and A with Braves third baseman Chipper Jones

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien.)

It’s a little less than six weeks from when Braves pitchers and catchers report for spring training on Feb. 19, and I haven’t bugged Chipper Jones all offseason. What’s up with that?

Well let’s say that’s remedied here in a wide-ranging conversation with the veteran third baseman, who just got back from a hunting trip to New Mexico and plans to start into his usual routine of hitting at Turner Field next week.

Chipper taking in a Hawks game Dec. 28

Chipper taking in a Hawks game Dec. 28

Candid as ever, Jones shared his thoughts on everything from when he might make a decision on retirement and how the game is more difficult for him now, to the state of the team, how he’ll feel if the Braves go into spring training with this roster largely as is and his impressions of new hitting coach Greg Walker.

Without further adieu, excerpts from that interview:

Q. How are your knees?

A. Everything is pretty good. I’ve been working out for a month, month and a half. I played in (Brian McCann) Mac’s charity softball game about six weeks ago. I was really worried coming out of that because my right knee was killing me. I had been away from playing for a month and really had seen no improvement. But now I’ve been taking – not live swings, but swings with aggression – here at the house. Six weeks ago I couldn’t put any weight on my right knee at all, as far as swinging right-handed. Now I’m swinging basically as hard as I can. I’m able to sit back on my backside, which is something I couldn’t do at the end of the year last year. I feel strong. I’ve lost some weight, which hopefully will relieve some pressure.

Q. How much did you lose?

A. I’m 8-10 pounds lighter than normal. Usually I’m coming into spring training in low 230s. The last time I weighted myself I was 223, 224. I’ve tried to eat a little better this offseason, and I think it’s paying off.

Q. All things considered, were you pretty happy with your season individually last year?

A. I was pretty pleased, not satisfied. I felt like I could have put together a pretty good season at 39 years of age, had I not missed 24 games (following surgery). After I came back from surgery, the last two months of the season, doing it when I needed to made me feel good.

Q. And then there was the last month from a team standpoint.

A. What happened at end of the season still burns. But I still walk away from it thinking that we played as hard as we could. Nobody was dogging it, I made sure of that, and we showed up to play every day. For whatever reason, it just didn’t happen for us. But when I look at last year’s team and the players on it, everybody worries about our offense and rightly so. They should have after the year that we had last year. The questions are warranted. But I sit back and I say to myself well, is Jason Heyward going to hit .220 this year? And I think, “Most certainly not.” Is Dan Uggla going to hit .230? And I think to myself, “No he’s not.” Is BMac going to hit under. 200 the last two months of the season? That’s a “most certainly not.” Is Martin Prado going to hit .260? Never in a million years will he hit .260 two years in a row. The saying around a major league batting cage is when you’re in a slump, the hitting coach always tells you “At some point, somebody is going to pay,” and I think that we’ve got a lot of guys in that clubhouse offensively that are thinking to themselves “Somebody’s got to pay.” So I’m hoping everybody has that attitude coming into spring training because there have been a lot of teams that have upgraded their ball clubs in our division. And we’re going to have to play well all year.

Chipper and Fredi will be chatting it up soon

Chipper and Fredi will be chatting it up soon

Q. Are you disappointed you guys haven’t made trades to upgrade?

A. Well, you’d always like to see your ball club get better, but looking at our ballclub coming into this offseason, I think each and every guy would tell you that there’s not a whole lot of places to make any adjustments. Certainly Martin Prado is one of our better players. He’s been rumored to be going somewhere in a trade. I think we all don’t want that to happen. The guy is a good player, and he’s awesome in the clubhouse, and we all love him to death. I really thought coming in if we made any moves, it would be with the pitching staff. Obviously everybody knew they were going to try to do something with D(erek) Lowe; they did that. That opens up a spot for one of the young kids. You always have to have an eye on the future, and if you can get an outfield piece for the future with giving up one of your starters, and having our depth in the minor leagues at starting pitching, that would have been maybe the one move that I could have seen being made. But in this day and age, some of these GMS are used car salesmen, and they’re just trying to absolutely rape your farm system. To Frank (Wren’s) credit, he has stood fast. I guess really the only deal I’ve heard of all offseason was Adam Jones (whom the Orioles reportedly wanted to package for Prado, Jair Jurrjens and two premium prospects), and that was just flat out ridiculous, what they were asking for him.

Q. If Jurrjens ends up being traded, is it a scary proposition with such a young crop behind him?

A. This is where I think the injuries to JJ and (Tommy) Hanson - while it may have prevented us from going to the playoffs, them being out six weeks – it may have given us a peek into the future to see which of these we want to keep, which one of these guys, if any, may at one point be on the block. We had an extensive look at (Mike) Minor, who was great. We got an extensive look at (Randall) Delgado, who was I thought outstanding. And we got a good look at (Julio) Teheran, and while he got off to kind of a slow start, his best outings were right there at the end of the year. I thought he threw extremely well. So the future is bright, and if you get a chance to maybe take one of those established guys and say “Let’s go get us a piece for our lineup,” it’s young guys like that (who) can afford you that ability.

Q. If the club stands pat, do you think the team’s mindset will be good going into spring training?

A. Yeah I think so. Pretty much everybody in that clubhouse knew that our starting lineup was going to be exactly the same as the way the year ended. And I don’t think anybody would have had a problem with it. Everybody knows what they’re capable of and if we go out and have our prototypical years, the offense will take care of itself. You can never count on all eight position players having typical years. Somebody is going to struggle during the course of the year. But you just don’t expect four or five guys to really struggle the way they did. I’m hoping that (new hitting coach) Greg Walker has that kind of influence on the guys. He seems like a real positive guy. I love the fact that we have another set of eyes as well with (assistant hitting coach Scott) Fletcher there. The more eyes that you can have on people, the more different points of view you have, the better. I feel like – I do this from time to time, usually on the road – if you can get four or five guys in the cage just watching each other and then have a little pow-wow session about things, you solve more problems that way because you’ve got different guys giving different opinions. When you do that, sometimes something will click for somebody. They’ll try it and they’ll get instant results out of it.

Q. Have you met Walker yet?

A. I’ve gotten a chance to talk to him on the phone a couple times. He’s asked me a lot of questions about guys on the team, how things work here, and he seems very open-minded. He seems like a good communicator even though I haven’t seen him in action yet.

Q. Did you know much about him through White Sox players?

A. Guys like (Paul) Konerko and Adam Dunn - they love him. (They say) he’s very accessible, always one of the first guys at the park, last one to leave. You also want a hitting coach that is not going to turn somebody into his prototypical-style hitter. You’ve got to be able to watch film and recognize what guys are doing when they’re successful and recognize what they’re doing when they’re not. Each guy’s swing is going to be different, so you can’t teach everybody to hit the same way. And it seems like he’s got the philosophy of (treating) every hitter singularly.

Q. Looking ahead, do you worry you’re in for another tough year physically?

A. I know this year is going to be tough physically. But I signed up to play, and my teammates want me out there, and I want to be out there as much as I can. I’m going to be 40 years old, and I know it. I’m reminded of it every time I pick up the paper or turn on my computer, but the fact of the matter is, I can still go out and contribute and be productive and that’s what I’m going to shoot to accomplish this year. Wherever I hit, whenever I play, I want to help this team win. That’s always been my goal, and it doesn’t change just because I’m turning 40 this year.

Q. Have you given much thought to 2013?

A. I’ve given some thought to it, and it’s too early to talk about ‘13. I go through stretches during the season every year where I feel like I don’t want to play anymore. Then I go through stretches where I think I can play five more years (laughs). Obviously when you’re in the middle of a 10 or 15-game hitting streak and you’ve hit a couple homers, and the game is slowing down for you, you feel like you can play forever. Then there’s those 3-for-25s where your team loses five out of seven games, and you’re like “What the heck am I doing?” You lose focus a little bit. I’ve got to not make a decision whenever I’m in one of those streaks. I’ll try to wait until I’m going good to make a decision to make sure I’m in the right frame of mind.

Grounders don't come quite as easy for the 39-year old

Grounders don't come quite as easy for the 39-year old

Q. How’s your frame of mind in general?

A. The game is getting harder for me. When you first come to big leagues the game is so fast. It takes a while to adjust to it. When you’re in your prime, the game slows down almost to a slow-pitch softball. As you get older, the game starts to speed up again. I’d be lying if I said the game wasn’t really, really fast for me right now. It seems like everybody is throwing 100 mph. The pitchers’ mound gets closer to home plate whenever you’re hitting, and third base gets farther away from first base. I can remember thinking to myself a couple times running down to first base last year, I’d put my head down and I’d run. When I was 25, when I’d look up the base would be a step and a half away. Now I put my head down and I look up, I’m not even halfway there. And it’s a little deflating and a little depressing. That’s just part of it. You’re playing a game of adjustments, and you better make some adjustments or else the game is going to pass you by.

4,216 comments Add your comment

Scoop

January 10th, 2012
12:40 am

Enter your comments here

Thrasher Fan

January 10th, 2012
12:41 am

CHIPPER! He’s gonna go out a world series champion babyyyy!

Go braves!

Smack65

January 10th, 2012
12:42 am

Nice work! Thanks Carroll!

matt

January 10th, 2012
12:42 am

lets do it this year boys, just for chipper!!!!

Jimmy Dugan

January 10th, 2012
12:42 am

Not sure how a true braves fan could have an issue with chipper. He is a true ball player, and one hell of an honest guy.

Scoop

January 10th, 2012
12:44 am

Yep, you have to make adjustments-Chipper will be a coach someday when he finally decides to hang em up. Hopefully that’s not too soon…..I don’t care how slow the man gets, he can still hit and he still has that high IQ and leadership intangibility.
GIVE ME CHIPPER JONES IN THE HOT CORNER ANY GAME ANY TIME!!!!!!!!!

Chipper, if you’re out there, don’t listen to anybody that tells you that you can’t play. Go bring home another world series title to Braves Nation!!!!!!!!!

justin

January 10th, 2012
12:45 am

Wow. True honestly from a professional player. This is why Chipper Jones will always be one if my fav players

ATLDale

January 10th, 2012
12:50 am

Great interview. Candid indeed. Sounds like Chipper would be happy to play in 100+ games. Need to keep Prado around as he will be playing a fair amount of 3rd.

Mike S

January 10th, 2012
12:51 am

Thanks for the late night bloggage CR! Always love hearing from Hoss. What a sad day it’ll be for you and DOB when he hangs em up. Definitely will make your jobs more difficult…

Carroll Rogers

January 10th, 2012
12:52 am

Scoop, I took care of the comment in question and I’ll take off the ones that continue the confusion….I’ll leave the real deal.

Carroll Rogers

January 10th, 2012
12:53 am

You said it, Mike S…..

Couch Tater

January 10th, 2012
1:08 am

Thanks, Carroll.

Always fun to read a Chipper interview. Especially, in the offseason.

Chop Chop

January 10th, 2012
1:11 am

Good to see that Adam Dunn loved Greg Walker. He sure hit like he loved Walker.

DS1

January 10th, 2012
1:11 am

Great interview Carroll. I second Mike S and your comments about how sad it will be for most Braves fans when Chipper finally hangs em up.

DS1

January 10th, 2012
1:13 am

Chop Chop

When a player falls off so far and so fast, like Dunn this past year, you wonder what he quit doing to fail so badly.

I find it hard to blame a hitting coach for a vet’s failure like that.

And to think that folks wanted us to pick him up a year or two ago.

ohhhYEAH

January 10th, 2012
1:25 am

Chipper, the fans who think you should retire and the fans that can’t stand you, they’re a vast minority! True Braves fans love you, and if it were realistic we would LOVE for you to be playing 5 years from now. Unfortunately, we know your window is closing, and its bittersweet. At least we were lucky enough to watch you every summer! Go get em this year man! Do your thing and leave it all out there!

ohhhYEAH

January 10th, 2012
1:27 am

Chop Chop

Yeah….because we all know Adam Dunn is certainly a career .300 hitter and has never struck out 100 times a season…right? ome on man. Dude has been in the league too long to blame a hitting coach, and he’s never been an average guy anyway. Thats just a dumb argument

DS1

January 10th, 2012
1:50 am

Looks like the blog night crew haven’t found their way over to the new blog yet.

Stealing a line from my buddy tiger, “when it’s sleepy time out west”…………

Columbus

January 10th, 2012
1:59 am

Chipper, the truth is everyone is throwing 100 now! I just turned 44, watched baseball since I was 7 and played until I was 40 and still would be if I had time, but unfortunately I must work more than before!

Anyway, I have NEVER witnessed as many pitchers throwing 95 miles an hour. Not to mention ones hitting 97 and above! EVERY team has a closer that throws over 95 too it seems like! I have NEVER seen it like I seen it last year!

You have a LOT left in the tank Chipper. A LOT! People that say otherwise are young and/or baseball ignorant, including and PRIMARILY the media, which like to overblow it and create hype. I hated to see you hurt youe knee year before last. Man, you had just gotten your swing back. It was authorative and sweet! You still got it brother and with the guys around you hitting better, you are going to benefit and have a great season. Heck you were hot before the all-star break and leading the team in rbi’s and I tell you the truth, you work as many walks as ANYONE. Your OBP is great even when you were slumping. The team NEEDS you brother in MANY ways.

Thanks for coming back. We love you and we want you for as long as you want to play. Seriously. Even as a PH or part-time player when your 44 or older. You are an asset and if i was a manager, I would take you on my team any day and as my starter for 110-120 games and want you on my bench as a player/coach. Seriously…

Columbus

January 10th, 2012
2:09 am

Hey Carroll, I see a lot of support on here for Chipper that you dont often see because a lot of ignorant and hateful people post during the season. If you would, consider getting a copy of these comments to him somehow so he will know that there is a lot of support and love for him. I know that he probaby knows that allready, but it would have to be good for his soul and mentality to see it for himself first-hand in black and white coming from several fans and it being, whats the word…uncooerced? Thanks.

Ward

January 10th, 2012
2:16 am

Hello everyone! Nice Article on Chipper Carroll. That explains why Wren,wont trade Prado,because of Chippers knees.Hope Chipper keeps playing,as long as he can.

Ward

January 10th, 2012
2:27 am

Chipper is a legend,and should play as long as he wants too. Chipper has earned that right too.He’s a favorite of mine too.

cricket

January 10th, 2012
2:33 am

Thrasher Fan

I thought this species went extinct..

kenhotlanta

January 10th, 2012
2:37 am

Thanks for the new blog, Carroll…good stuff with Chipper. When he does finally hang it up, I hope he stays in the game, I think he would make a phenomenal hitting coach, and maybe even a manager. He just seems to see things clearly and bypasses the BS.

kenhotlanta

January 10th, 2012
2:40 am

In other news, Jordan Jenkins, a bigtime defensive end, commits to UGA over Alabama…a huge plus for the Dawgs.

AndrewW

January 10th, 2012
2:47 am

It’s refreshing in this day and age to get a candid interview from someone you WANT to hear from. Usually the honesty comes from a disgruntled player airing dirty laundry with the lies coming from the superstars… Chipper has bucked that trend before and did again here. Love hearing about the struggles players have as well as the confidence they have. Even though everyone in the NL East seemed to go out and improve immensely besides us, Braves fans should still be confident. This is a team that battled all last season and Chip’s right, there’s no way that Mac, Uggla, Prado, and Heyward all struggle the same way they did last year. Plus we’ll have Bourn for an entire season, and while I loved the workhorse/blue collar attitude of Derek Lowe, it just didn’t work out last year and we really needed an extra “W” down the stretch from him…

I’m not down on this Braves team yet… As long as we got great leadership (like we do) and a couple spark plugs, we’ll be fine…

Ward

January 10th, 2012
2:52 am

Carroll-Do anything about Arthur Blank maybe being iterested in the Braves?Read an article on Talk Chop,and it seems to be speculation,but is there anything to it?

Ward

January 10th, 2012
2:55 am

Meant to say dou you no anything? It was an interesting article.

Ward

January 10th, 2012
2:59 am

My spelling was not cool there. Just wondering if you knew anything to that,or was it just a rumor on Arthur Blank,being interested in the Braves?

Ward

January 10th, 2012
3:09 am

All have a good one! It’s been cool,and peace……..

ncgary

January 10th, 2012
4:01 am

go braves go chipper.best organization and best true hitter for them

Tim

January 10th, 2012
4:24 am

I love Chipper’s honesty. So many of these guys put themselves up on a pedestal. Chipper just tells it like it is. Makes for a good, refreshing interview. Well done.

ABravesFan

January 10th, 2012
4:30 am

Love Chipper’s candidness. I think Chipper will bounce back in a big way but deciding to retire when the Braves do pull a Cardinals (being the best in the playoffs without being the most dominant in the regular season). With the 2nd wild card spot, the Braves should make it to the playoffs with the team as it is and then it’s really a crapshoot and the Braves will have as good of a chance as anyone else to win it all.

Stinger2

January 10th, 2012
5:24 am

Chipper`s comments about his knees are not reassuring.
However, I agree with most that he does tell it like he sees it.
I still believe the Braves need a corner outfielder that can hit .280 with 25-30 hrs and 90-100 rbi.

Graham

January 10th, 2012
6:01 am

Stinger2…. I think most of the league would like a guy like that

JC Brave

January 10th, 2012
6:18 am

Barry Larkin getting elected into the HOF on his third try is a damn big joke. He isn’t even HOF material. Chipper better get elected on his first or second try.

Those voters should be taken to a backyard and be buried alive.

K.Conway

January 10th, 2012
6:55 am

Do the Braves a favor and retire! The Braves can’t afford to pay a part-time player what they pay Chipper! That’s why there are no deals made and why the Braves will finish this season in last place!!

longtimefan

January 10th, 2012
6:59 am

Chipper Jones is a player’s player. First ballot 2018.

chipfrumatl

January 10th, 2012
7:12 am

Yeah, his age is going to be a huge factor this year, he admits that. I still feel he will contribute, either on the field or fro mthe bench on his off days. He IS the clubhouse guy, no doubt about it.

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
7:27 am

I think he’s coming back in 2013.

Jeff R

January 10th, 2012
7:32 am

“I’ve lost some weight, which hopefully will relieve some pressure [on Chipper's knees].”

Let’s hope. But knees are tricky creatures, once damaged.

“I felt like I could have put together a pretty good season at 39 years of age, had I not missed 24 games (following surgery).”

The problem with Chipper, lo these many years now, isn’t his stats (in his time played), but the number of games he’s missed.

“Certainly Martin Prado is one of our better players. He’s been rumored to be going somewhere in a trade. I think we all don’t want that to happen.”

Chipper’s right. He might of mentioned that barring other better alternatives, Prado is key if Chipper goes down for any length of time.

” I know this year is going to be tough physically. But I signed up to play, and my teammates want me out there, and I want to be out there as much as I can.”

“As much as I can” are the operative words. Keep Prado barring a better alternative, as mentioned above.

“…it’s too early to talk about ‘13.”

Don’t go Willie Mays on us, Chipper, playing well past your time. Mays did that, and it was unfortunate watching a once great talent falter badly.

” You’re playing a game of adjustments, and you better make some adjustments or else the game is going to pass you by.”

Chipper’s always been superb at making adjustments and having discipline. Let’s hope he squeezes a little more out of his 40-year-old body and plays more than he sits.

BraveDan

January 10th, 2012
7:34 am

Barry Larkin is most definately worthy of the Hall of Fame, always wanted him on the Braves.

Larry

January 10th, 2012
7:36 am

“I know this year is going to be tough physically.”

“The game is getting harder for me.”

“I’d be lying if I said the game wasn’t really, really fast for me right now. It seems like everybody is throwing 100 mph. The pitchers’ mound gets closer to home plate whenever you’re hitting, and third base gets farther away from first base.”

Well, the excuses are already in place and some you think this man is a real leader and management material. LOL!

Never in a million years would have Pete Rose, Hank Aaron or Ted Williams at 39 years old declare in advance “I know this year is going to be tough physically” and then selfishly cripple the chances of their teams by cashing $15,000,000.00 worth of checks from February to September.

I don’t “hate” Chipper Jones, but he’s had his moments and opportunities. Now it’s time to give others that same opportunity and “pass it forward.”

Larry

January 10th, 2012
7:37 am

“…it’s too early to talk about ‘13.”

It’s too late to talk about ‘12!

Jimbo Jones

January 10th, 2012
7:43 am

Better not trade Prado if Chipper’s knees are giving him fits before the season even starts….

JRW

January 10th, 2012
7:48 am

K.Conway – That’s why there are no deals made and why the Braves will finish this season in last place!!
__________________________________________________________________

Last place is reserved for the Mets.

Ray

January 10th, 2012
8:03 am

Good article. WOW. @Larry.You rip for being wide open, letting his guard down. IF he would have said all of the cliche’s then you would have ripped him for that. Every athlete,no matter what when they are perfectly honest will tell you there are times the game is difficult. No matter what sport. That doesn’t mean they cannot produce. Pete Rose was too arrogant to say anything, including the TRUTH. Chipper will be productive. And if you want to bring up money. In his prime, Chipper has deferred money several times and backloaded so the Braves could sign or re-sign players.

alanfalcon

January 10th, 2012
8:09 am

I guess Frank has all the answers and we value our trade peices alot more than the other teams in both leagues. It’s good to know that we are set to wind the NLDS and move forward to the World Series with the players we have in hand and that we really don’t need any help

CONGRADULATIONS FOR AN ABSOLUTELY BORING OFF SEASON AND A DISMAL 2012 SEASON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bill

January 10th, 2012
8:25 am

Chipper is working on his manager skills and hopefully will go out on a high this year. His comments on getting older were honest and clear, Thanks for the article

Joey

January 10th, 2012
8:26 am

If Chippers knees are giving him fits sitting in a deer stand . . .

Don’t think the Braves will get their money’s worth this year.

Just think, if Chipper had retired after ‘11, we’d have Prado at 3rd, and and Frank would have $15M in hand to get a great OF.

Dang . . .

Joey

January 10th, 2012
8:32 am

Man, if this happens, the Braves are gonna be butting heads with the Mets for last place?

http://network.yardbarker.com/mlb/article_external/cecil_fielder_talks_to_prince_thinks_hes_going_to_dc/9219232

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
8:32 am

Thanks for the blog, Carroll. Good read. I think Chipper could be coming back for 2013. If that surgery doesn’t happen, he plays in like 140 games last year. He just has to get into 123 this year, and I think if he OPS’s around .800, why not come back for 9-10 million?

robdawg08

January 10th, 2012
8:35 am

My favorite all time player. I hope Chipper can contribute this year a lot. I hate to see a Braves team without him but whenever the time comes when Chipper knows that another player could put up better numbers than him at 3B I think he will retire.

Ray

January 10th, 2012
8:36 am

For all of the naysayers that have all of the answers and you already know that the braves will finish last place, then why even bother? Since you have all of the answers and already KNOW the outcome of this season, find someone you know that disagrees with you and make that bet. It would be easy money for you. You got the braves in last place and they have the braves finishing above that. Since you have all of the answers, it would be the easiest money you could possibly make.

Matthew 20:16

January 10th, 2012
8:36 am

Great interview. I appreciate Chipper’s honesty and candor. He’s a man among men.

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
8:44 am

2013 option guaranteed at $9M with: 123 games in 2012, or average of 127 games in 2011-12

2013 option price increases by $1M each for: 128, 133, 138, 140 games in 2012, or averages of 132, 137, 138, 140 games in 2011-12

I think he plays 130 games and his option sets in for 10 million in 2013.

tp

January 10th, 2012
8:51 am

I was thinking the EXACT same thing, Matthew 20:16. He’s definitely one of the game’s all-time greats.

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ & Shrimp

January 10th, 2012
8:53 am

Fine article. Great to hear things from his perspective. Feels like spring training in buckhead today.

Lemke's Knuckler

January 10th, 2012
8:55 am

Wouldn’t it be nice if Chipper’s career ended up as a World Series sandwich. Won one his first full major league season and win one his last major league season. And a fantastic career in between.

Chipper will be the hitting coach in Atlanta one day. And for those of you that think Heyward is another Francoeur, you can read Chipper’s comments about Heyward and know that won’t be the case. I remember reading comments back in ‘08 when Francoeur was scuffling, and Chipper said he wasn’t sure when Francoeur would turn it around because Jeff couldn’t feel what he was doing wrong. Chipper knows hitting, and you can tell from his comments he has confidence that Heyward won’t repeat his 2011 season again. That’s encouraging.

And I agree 100% that Prado will have a huge season and won’t hit .260 again.

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
8:57 am

Uggla – 13.2
McCann – 12
Jones – 10
Hudson – 9

Prado – 7
O’Flaherty – 3.5

Heyward – 3
Hanson – 3
Venters – 2.5
Medlen – 1.5

10 players for 2013 – 64.7 million
15 players for 2013 at avg. minimum salary – 7.8 million

Total of 72.5 million – we’d still have quite a bit of cash to improve the team even if Chipper comes back and Prado is tendered a contract.

Robert

January 10th, 2012
8:58 am

I sure hope there is some way we can get Jones without giving up Prado. I’m hoping the O’s will accept JJ and one of our top young arms in return. We are gonna need Prado to play a lot of positions for us next year, but mainly at 3rd for not IF, but WHEN Chipper gets hurt!

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
8:59 am

Maholm signed a one-year, $4.25MM deal, tweets Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago. There is a $6.5MM club option for 2013 with a $500K buyout.

That has to signal a Garza deal at some point soon.

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
9:00 am

Robert, you;d give up Jurrjens + one of our top young arms for Adam Jones? I would not go near that sort of a trade.

flange1

January 10th, 2012
9:00 am

Great interview CR! Thanks for the new blog.

I agree with Efrim, I think ol’ Hoss will be back in 2013.

Jefferson

January 10th, 2012
9:02 am

Efrim, totally agree. Chipper will make that option and come back around 10million in 2013.

Agree with chipper that one of the young guys needs to be traded for a bat, if possible. Barring price, player, years, etc.

Another option that i like for now is trading a mid level piece(s) for someone cheap.

Look at chicago eating the salary of zambrano. Maybe HOU could do the same and eat 15 million thats owed to Carlos Lee and atlanta has a RH bat for LF. He is still a good power hitter and only one year left. Prado could spell Lee in LF and chipper @ 3B.

Mike Purcell

January 10th, 2012
9:03 am

Chip; Get your 2 cents in with Fredi and the brass. Clubhouse cohesion is underrated and they need to place a higher premium on guys like Prado. He does it all and as you said, ‘the guys absolutely love him.’ In my business if its not a line item on a balance sheet or an income statement, the consultants ‘don’t get it or value it.’ They don’t think about loyalty, integrity, passion and all of the other intangibles because its not on a piece of paper. Hopefully Wren ‘gets it’ and values a guy like Prado accordingly.

Jeff R

January 10th, 2012
9:04 am

Chipper played in 126 games in ‘11, not 140 games. Since ‘04, when Chipper’s long run of injuries began impacting his playing time, he’s averaged 123 games played per season.

In the last two seasons, Chipper’s averaged 111 games played after averaging 135 games played 07-09. A significant drop off.

Chipper’s forty with bad knees; you simply can’t underestimate that twin reality. As Chipper admits, his skills are eroding with age, and his health is all the more a factor. But for 2012, I’m more concerned about Chipper’s health than his ability.

Jimmy

January 10th, 2012
9:05 am

No, I see it as this is his last year. That’s how I take is comments on that question. He kind of dance around a direct “yes” or “no”. I understand what he is saying, but I get the feeling that this is it.

Random

January 10th, 2012
9:11 am

Larry (January 10th, 2012 7:36 am): “Never in a million years would have Pete Rose, Hank Aaron or Ted Williams at 39 years old declare in advance “I know this year is going to be tough physically” “

No, Pete Rose said stuff like this:

“During the times I gambled as a manager, I never took an unfair advantage, … I never bet more or less based on injuries or inside information. I never allowed my wagers to influence my baseball decisions. So in my mind, I wasn’t corrupt.”

Rose is your HERO, I take it? More to be looked up to and respected than Chipper Jones?

Y.A.I.

Division Titles!

January 10th, 2012
9:12 am

Come on Chipper, we all know the obvious reason you’re back- MONEY. If you really cared about the team you’d be gone. Your salary could support 2-5 new players that could help this team to rebuild. Instead, you’ll be injured half the year while cashing those big checks.

Most disappointing is that Chipper had so few clutch playoff performances duringnthe 15 year run. As I talk to people in Atlanta, this is the resounding frustration I get when bringing up Chipper in the conversation. His numbers may be worthy of the HOF but his playoff performance would land him squarely in the land of mediocrity.

Arkansas Transplant

January 10th, 2012
9:15 am

Look it up AT, pretty good control and the change are what most scouts are high about. course what do they know, right? – nolie

I did eactly that, I’ve yet to find one report that states he has a plus plus change up. On multiple reports they have stated slightly above average or average to plus but nothing along the lines of plus plus. It has been stated on most or all reports that he relys on commanding his fastball to set up other pitches which happens to be along the lines of what I was saying. I simply stated that he needed to improve his accuracy and develop an exceptional change up, which just happens not to be a far cry from most if not all reports I read. Maybe your reading other reports or something but I’ve been unsuccessful in finding what you were talking about. Not to mention, most of the reports stated his curve had pretty good bite and was a pretty decent pitch. So I’m not sure of what reports your speaking of or reading from.

Jimmy

January 10th, 2012
9:15 am

Oh, and Thanks Carroll for the fresh bloggage.
Good interview. Asked the direct questions most of us would have asked.

Robert

January 10th, 2012
9:16 am

It’s nice to have a stable of arms, but you can only use so many. If we gave up JJ and say Minor for Jones, we still have Teharen and DelGado and the lefty they took at number one last year, not to mention Medlen back. We need to score some runs!

Lew

January 10th, 2012
9:16 am

Nice interview Carroll, thanks.

Larry – Excuses? Sounded more to me like he was being absolutely honest.

I wish he could keep going, but it was painful to watch him grimacing with every step last year. Hope he’s able to play without so much pain this time around, but I wouldn’t imagine it will happen. Glad we have Martin toback him up.

jay

January 10th, 2012
9:19 am

I love Chipper, but his salary is killing our team.

McFann O O o

January 10th, 2012
9:19 am

keylargo McCann should never bat third with his speed. He did hit there a couple of games….

A COUPLE games? Man he friggin’ lived in the 3rd spot for what felt like half the season!…Drove me insane ’cause that spot has for whatever reason never been good to his AVG or anything…

I will always remember a game where McCann hit third and was on first. The four hitter hit a ball in the outfield gap all the way to the wall in right and was headed for third when he looked up and saw McCann at third – stopped. He really had to scramble back to second he had gone around so far.

Which game was that, BTW?…

He does however need to be working his [butt] off to improve his speed.

Dude…seriously…it’s enough, already. He was born not fast…he’s been a catcher since he started high-school (or thereabouts)…he’s not a fast person, I’m sorry. This isn’t a knock on him on my part by any means. And really—if you say something to the effect of the above one more time, I’m gonna tell tiger297 to fly down there, sit you in a white room, lock the door, and MAKE you watch the Exorcist all the way through!!! :mrgreen:

Thanks, Choppinmama! You rock!! :)

Rufio

January 10th, 2012
9:19 am

I believe this interview was edited by DOB.

Does DOB really expected us to believe Chipper went through an entire interview without saying Ummmmmmmm or awwwwww or mmmmmmm?

Rufio

I hope Chipper does not become Brett Favre of Baseball in regards of staying too long. I do believe Chipper will retire a Brave though.

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
9:19 am

Chipper played in 126 games in ‘11, not 140 games

If he doesn’t have surgery to repair a torn meniscus, he plays in 140 games, imo. Just saying that the surgery knocked him out, but overall he was healthy and playing quite a bit – productive too.

Jeff R

January 10th, 2012
9:19 am

In fairness to Larry, he was talking about Rose (and the others) as athletes, not men. I neither agree or disagree with Lawrence.

As a man, Pete Rose is of low character. He’s never owned up to his unethical and illegal conduct.

As a kid, I was privileged to watch Rose play (along with his Red Machine cohorts). He was one talented, hard working ballplayer (if the guy ever dogged it, I’d like to know).

But Rose ain’t no role model, that’s for sure.

Jeff R

January 10th, 2012
9:25 am

Sure the surgery knocked Chipper out… like oblique injuries have knocked him out and a long list of other injuries. Had Chipper not had those injuries in other seasons he would have played in more games.

But the facts are that injuries have been a huge factor in Chipper’s career since ‘04 (unfortunately). Chipper is candidly admitting that his knees are giving him trouble in the off-season (or had been giving him trouble). Painful knees and he’s not playing. This should concern fans – it seems to concern Chipper.

Bat Masterson

January 10th, 2012
9:26 am

I sure hope there is some way we can get Jones without giving up Prado. I’m hoping the O’s will accept JJ and one of our top young arms in return. _ Robert

Is this the Bobby Cox hating Robert, or another Robert?

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
9:27 am

I mean, of course we have to see how the season goes for him to see if he can continue playing. But his production in 2011 was still really strong for a 3rd baseman. If he can play in 130 games, and OPS around .800, I’m not sure why he wouldn’t come back…..oh, and an extra 10 million dollars will help.

Jeff R

January 10th, 2012
9:31 am

” If he [Chipper] can play in 130 games, and OPS around .800, I’m not sure why he wouldn’t come back…..oh, and an extra 10 million dollars will help.”

Agreed. But the key word is “if.” A healthy and productive Chipper is always a boon to the Braves’ fortunes. Every Braves’ fan needs to pull for Chipper to play all 162 games, if that were even possible.

Grammar Girl

January 10th, 2012
9:31 am

“Without further ado…” Just in case you ever want to use that phrase again.

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
9:31 am

From Buster Olney’s blog this morning:

Chipper Jones did a Q & A with Carroll Rogers, and within that he addresses the question of what his frame of mind is, at age 39, and Jones puts into words — as well as any older player I can remember — how the game changes for an aging player:

The game is getting harder for me. When you first come to big leagues the game is so fast. It takes a while to adjust to it. When you’re in your prime, the game slows down almost to a slow-pitch softball. As you get older, the game starts to speed up again. I’d be lying if I said the game wasn’t really, really fast for me right now. It seems like everybody is throwing 100 mph. The pitchers’ mound gets closer to home plate whenever you’re hitting, and third base gets farther away from first base. I can remember thinking to myself a couple times running down to first base last year, I’d put my head down and I’d run. When I was 25, when I’d look up the base would be a step and a half away. Now I put my head down and I look up, I’m not even halfway there. And it’s a little deflating and a little depressing. That’s just part of it. You’re playing a game of adjustments, and you better make some adjustments or else the game is going to pass you by.

After reading this article, I seriously doubt Chipper will play in 2013; the Braves hold a $7 million option for ‘13, after he makes $13 million this year.

Bravo

January 10th, 2012
9:33 am

Time for Chipper to hang it up so his salary can be used to bring in premier talent that can play 162 games.

He’ll be on the DL by May 15.

We usually get these touchy feely feel-good stories from Chipper this time of the year to generate some ticket sales.

The bottomline is the Braves will be competing with the Mets to stay out of last place while the re-tooled Phillies, Marlins & Nationals compete for the NL East crown. If the Nats get Prince Fielder …

Bat Masterson

January 10th, 2012
9:33 am

Interesting interview, Carroll. Thanks

raleighbravefan

January 10th, 2012
9:34 am

Here come the Chipper haters. My question is this…how many Braves had a better year than Chipper in 2011? If he’s older, but in better shape, with a sounder knee, why would you ASSUME he will be less productive in 2012?
As far as his contract, get over it. He deseres it, and he’s earned it. And it is NOT killing the team to pay him what he is owed. Again, GET OVER IT.

Lew

January 10th, 2012
9:36 am

I’m also doubting he can come back in 2013. He’s been one of favorite players since he came into the league, but age is catching up. He’ll likely be able to hit when he’s 50, but the rest of the game is going to be getting harder and harder with those knees getting weaker and weaker.

I think it was pretty amazing how well he did lasyt year all things considered, but one more knee injury could well do him in and stamppaid to a great HOF career, IMO.

But I’ll be glad to send him deer painting number three when he’s inducted.

Robert

January 10th, 2012
9:36 am

Not the Bobby Cox hating………..but I was never a big fan of the long time skipper either.

McFann O O o

January 10th, 2012
9:37 am

Bay Area Steve man alive, the McCann fat jokes are played out. Four years of the same stuff,

Amen to that!…

raleighbravefan

January 10th, 2012
9:37 am

Bravo – Competing for last place with the Mets?…Well, that’s your opinion. I believe we will still be in the top 2 in the division. Time will tell who’s right. (and by the way, you don’t even know who will be on the roster when the season starts)

phil

January 10th, 2012
9:37 am

Chipper Jones can play 5 more years as far as i’m concerned.

The reasons are obvious.

Play on, CJ!

Jimmy

January 10th, 2012
9:37 am

Efrim – To me, he was laying the ground work to not coming back in 2013. You know, by saying how hard this year will be and as the older he gets, the game gets quicker, etc.

The problem is that we are talking about Chipper – the last remnant of our glory years. If the subject was Tejda or Beltran and their age/knee issues, it would be a different tone.

I’m concerned. But if we retain Prado, I will be more at ease.

Lew

January 10th, 2012
9:37 am

Maybe you should change your name to (The Not Obsessive) Robert.

raleighbravefan

January 10th, 2012
9:39 am

Lew – No doubt he’s one injury (probably knee) away from retirement…but then, isn’t everyone? Granted that his odds are worse than most.

phil

January 10th, 2012
9:40 am

I’m glad to hear he’s dropped 8-10 pounds.

That will certainly help him.

Dropping another 5 would be even better.

Memo to McCann…..consider doing the same thing.

dap01

January 10th, 2012
9:41 am

Chipper has been a GREAT Atlanta Brave. I hope that FG gives him every 4th game off so that Chipper can stay fresh and healthier.

Chipper is the least of the Braves worry’s. Everyone should stop focusing on the 30 games missed each year and enjoy what is still one of the best 3rd basemen in baseball.

FW: Get a real bat to help out and the Braves have a chance. I with that was the focus, instead FW has to focus on cutting payroll.

Efrim

January 10th, 2012
9:41 am

Jimmy, that’s fair. And I could just be looking at it from a production standpoint and his comments about if he’s still producing and feeling good(playing in 123 games+), then he’ll come back. But I do understand he is turning 40 years old this year. We’ll see.

And I think Prado is sticking around for 2012. I expect a bounce back year. Already pumped for baseball to begin and it’s January 10th.

Division Titles!

January 10th, 2012
9:43 am

Chipper as a coach or manager? I don’t think so. Read the part of the interview reflecting on the last year’s meltdown to see what Chipper would bring. Sounded just like Cox: the guys gave it their all and never dogged it. We need accountability in this town not more coddling over poor results.

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