Despite having three more seasons on his contract after this one, Chipper Jones may hang it up before then:
“I’m not going to tolerate the numbers I have right now for very
certainly not going to stick around for a big contract if I’m not
having fun and not producing. I’m not saying I’m retiring at the end of
this year or the end of next year, but if I become an average player,
I’m not sticking around. I’m not going to hamstring the ballclub with the money I’m making, and I’m not going to be happy being a mediocre player. The day I become mediocre on a regular basis, I’m probably going to
ride off into the sunset, because I don’t have fun playing
the game at the level I’m playing at now.”
While it’s possible that this is the standard end-of-disappointing-season venting, it’s worth noting that this is the second time he’s said such a thing in recent weeks. There aren’t a lot of people who would walk away when they are certain to make $14 million a year, but it’s not like Jones is hurting for money and it’s not like he has anything left to prove.
As a guy who has watched Jones’ entire career pretty damn closely, not only do I believe him when he says he could retire after next year, I could totally feature him pulling a Mike Schmidt and retiring in the middle of next season if he feels he’s being a drag on the team.