Chipper Jones has received various items from opposing teams during his farewell tour around MLB. A cowboy hat here, a surfboard there. You know the deal. However, given his history of tormenting the Mets, many wondered what he would receive from the club upon arriving to Citi Field today. Perhaps something traditional like a gold watch? Maybe something a bit more sentimental like a seat from Shea Stadium? How about a one-way ticket back to Atlanta? Nope.
Via the Mets’ Twitter account, COO Jeff Wilpon presented Jones with a painting by artist Charles Fazzino during a press conference before tonight’s game:
That’s…interesting. Just in case you can’t tell, the pop piece depicts Jones back at Shea Stadium, complete with a fan yelling “Larrrry” from the stands. That’s a cool touch. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a mix of boos and cheers could be heard when the Mets showed a video before the game of Jones receiving his going away present. Many words were wasted on whether the Mets should pay tribute to Jones at all, but it looks like they handled this situation just about right. If only they could do that a little more often.
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.