There has been speculation for the last few seasons on when Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones would call it a career. It will not be after this season, according to a report from David O'Brien. Here are the highlights from the story:
"I'm playing next year," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday. "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 [batting] average is on the rise."
Chipper has been swinging the bat well thus far in August -- the veteran's OPS of 1.049 is near the top in all of baseball -- and his presence alone in the lineup is big on a nightly basis.
In addition to his recent play since coming off the disabled list, the $14 million dollars owed to Jones in 2012 also has to be a pretty strong incentive for him to make a return once again. While Chipper and his family aren't exactly hurting for money, it would be tough to walk away from that kind of financial incentive regardless if you're a rookie just breaking in or a guy with 15 years under his belt.
As far as 2013 goes?
"I'm not really ready to make that  decision yet. We sit here right now and I feel good, I'm being productive, I'm having fun, we're winning. I like to think that if I can keep my knees and my leg muscles intact for any period of time, that I can still put together a pretty good season. But even if I do that [in 2012], I may just say I'm ready to do something else."
This makes the most sense for all parties involved. No reason to make a commitment to something 18 months down the road.
Another season of Chipper Jones at third base at Turner Field. It just feels right. Maybe -- and this is a big maybe -- a championship in 2011 would change his mind, but I'd doubt it. Either way, let's just hope we cross that bridge when we get there.