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Chipper Jones' Big New Deal

Well, now we know what the Braves were saving their pennies for. According to a number of sources -- including the AP (we have it inside this notebook) -- third baseman Chipper Jones agreed to a three-year contract extension with Atlanta, a deal that will keep him in Georgia through 2012, with an option for 2013. It's a deal that virtually guarantees he'll spend his entire career with the Braves, a move that makes him a modern oddity of stability and, well, loyalty.

Of course, Jones is getting rewarded handsomely for that loyalty. The AP is reporting that the extension is worth $42 million, with the option year adding on a whopping $19 million, pushing the value of the total deal to $61 million.

It's a staggering amount of money to give a 37-year-old infielder. Jones will be either 40 or 41 when this deal ends, and while there are a handful of 40 and 41-year-olds in the bigs, there aren't too many still playing third base reliably.

Then again, when it comes to Jones, age hardly seems to affect his success at the plate. The first overall pick in the 1990 draft had a monster season in 2008, batting .364 with a .574 slugging percentage. He only hit 22 homers, but he was also limited to 128 games by injury. In fact, if he wasn't injured for a significant stretch, I'd venture to guess he would have finished significantly higher than 12th in the MVP ballot. He deserved to.

So, is this move too risky for a Braves team that should be on a rebuilding arc? Or is the cost of keeping around an aging, yet productive, face of a franchise now $14 million per year? What do people think?

By Cameron Smith  |  April 1, 2009; 12:07 PM ET
Categories:  Braves  
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Cameron -

Don't forget that the Braves don't have much of a situation going on at 1B. Casey Kotchman is not likely the answer. Chipper is definitely good enough to slide over to 1B if 3B turns into too much during this deal.

It is a lot of money, but the Braves have been hit hard by letting Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux go (even though Glavine's back now). It would have been fan (revenue) suicide to let Chipper walk.

Posted by: adampschroeder | April 1, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

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