Chipper Jones could retire before 2012

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Chipper Jones, though happy to in a playoff race, raises the possibility that he won’t play out the entirety of his recent three-year contract extension:

“When the contract’s up, I’ll
probably be done,” he said Wednesday. “It could be earlier. You know
what? My body will tell me. My mind will tell me. It’s been a long
career, and my body tells the story. When I get to the point where I’m
so mentally and physically fatigued, I’ll gladly ride off into the
sunset and not look back.”

Chipper’s body tends to speak pretty loudly. Having followed him as a fan for as long as I have, my sense of him is that if he’s just suffering the normal aches and pains a near-40 year-old suffers, he’ll play out the deal with lots of days off and occasional DL visits.  He probably won’t, however, put himself through surgeries or any real kind of rehab, and would glady walk away from a couple of million bucks if that was the choice.

Unlike Doug Glanville, Jones strikes me as the kind of guy who is probably looking forward to and will enjoy the hell out of retirement.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.