Three years $42 mil. Put into perspective this is an aging – oft injured third baseman for a franchise that is in need of rebuilding.
Three years, $42 million for the reining batting champion, an all-star player and an icon within the organization.
So how do you see it? Needless to say this is one tough decision. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said he was sleepless the night he traded away Nomar Garciapara. While wondering weather the Nomar deal made Epstein the new Harry Frazee, the Sox went on to win it all. So, how does the Wren-dog measure up? Chipper has hit waaayyyy over .300 the past three seasons and despite the slight injuries he has stood his ground. There is no debate that Jones is one of the best switch-hitters to ever play the game. Throw his name up in the sky with Mantle and Murray. However is this a deal for what Jones WILL do or HAS already done.
Consider this: The Braves are in flux, they need to build from within and Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward are not there yet. When the new core comes in, Jones, most likely will not be a factor in what will be the new wave of talent. Remember how good the Giants were in 2005 with Barry Bonds as the centerpiece? Barry Bonds! The king of kings, the ultimate ticket attraction! The Giants stayed old, resigned Bonds and built around an aging superstar by bringing in subpar free agents to stay afloat. They eventually sank and were pulling guys out of low Single-A ball to play shortstop. The Jones contract may be one move toward San Francisco…
“Hey knucklehead, the guy batted .364 last season, get with the $%#*# program.” Indeed, and it was a great season. But perhaps the correct move would have been to get a couple of young, major league ready players in a trade to a team that could use that type of production. Just remember what Branch Rickey told Ralph Kiner, “We finished in last place with you, and we can do it without you.” Or something to that effect and although 72-90 was not last place for the Braves last season, it sure as heck was not first.
The bottom line here is this was a sentimental and PR move by Atlanta in a cutthroat industry. In an industry that would trade the icon Nomar and let Glavine go to the Mets. That’s the real issue here with this deal. Smoltz leaving and the team not making the full effort to bring him back and now that move looks brilliant. Teams that are cold-hearted (see Jason Varitek 2008) and winning-driven don’t make these moves. And they sure don’t make moves to make up for other moves that they didn’t want to make but got flack for not making. You must be able to deal within the Pressure Cooker that surrounds each GM job in the league. Media wins sometimes after all. Two rules to live by – Don’t draft players in your fantasy league based on the MLB team you like and Don’t let the pressure from one source or another effect your decisions. Jones could be an outstanding player for three more years but will Atlanta be an outstanding club?