You gotta go back to Will Clark, I guess, for the last time a guy had as good a final season as Chipper Jones is having. At least when he knew it was his final season beforehand.
Jones hit two homers last night — the second of which was his 2,700th career hit — passing Dave Winfield on the all-time home run list. For the season, Jones is now hitting .315/.391/.519 with 12 homers and 53 RBI at the age of 40. Obviously he doesn’t play every day due to the wonky everything, but that’s amazing production for a guy with one foot in the baseball grave.
As our D.J. Short just pointed out on Twitter, only seven players have posted a higher OPS in a single season past the age of 40 with a minimum of 300 at bats. They are: Moises Alou, Harold Baines, Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Barry Bonds, who did it twice, and Ted Williams.
For a guy who has accomplished just about everything in baseball, it’s a nice cherry on top.
Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.
Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.
Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.
Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:
“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”