Chipper Jones Brushes Off Discussing Retirement Until After Season

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Chipper Jones Doesn't Want Retirement Talk To Obscure Braves Season

Holding court in front of his locker Thursday afternoon, Chipper Jones said, "I just want to put the cork back in the bottle" regarding the talk about his presumed impending retirement. While that isn't likely to achieve the desired effect, Chipper won't accommodate those looking for him to discuss the subject - claiming he won't address his career status again until the season is over.

Jones told the assembled media that he didn't want to take the focus off a Braves team currently sitting at first place in the NL East, or from Bobby Cox's final season as manager for that club. He said that he had met earlier in the day with team president John Schuerholz.

Not that he was entirely cagey about his intentions. At one point in the proceedings, he said, "Let’s face it, we all know which way I’m leaning."

For all intents and purposes, it's likely then that this is the final season of his career, but it won't be made official one way or the other until the 2010 season is over. It won't stop the media from discussing the possibility, but it will keep reporters from hounding him and his teammates about hints regarding his position.

Jones was not scheduled to be in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Rays, but Cox said he was simply giving Jones the night off.

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Chipper Jones Strongly Considering Retirement After 2010

It seems that, at 38, all the years and all the little injuries may finally be taking their toll on Chipper Jones, as the Braves' star third baseman is thinking very strongly about hanging them up after the season:

Struggling through another disappointing season, Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones told The Associated Press he would meet with team officials Tuesday to discuss his future and acknowledged that he's considering retirement.
...
"It's obvious that it's something I've been thinking about," Jones told the AP after arriving at Turner Field in his blue pickup truck about 2:15 p.m. "I need to go through the proper channels. Once those have all been taken care of, everybody's questions will be answered."

Worth noting is that Jones is currently under contract for $13m in 2011 and $13m in 2012. For him to retire after 2010, he would be walking away from a lot of money.  But money is one thing of which Jones has no shortage, and if he feels he can no longer produce at a Major League level, he'll call it quits to spare everyone the disappointment.

It's been quite the fall from 2008, when Chipper led the bigs with a .364 average and a .470 OBP. Those two figures dropped to .264 and .388 in 2009, and currently stand at .228 and .375. The discipline remains, but his bat speed and agility in the field have slipped, to the point at which he's hardly an approximation of the star player he once was. And given where he is in terms of years, it's hard to imagine things suddenly turning around.

But we'll see, as nothing's yet official. For the record, two sources told David O'Brien that Chipper would be calling it quits, and Bobby Cox says that retirement is indeed the plan, but Chipper has yet to make an official statement.

Check out Talking Chop for more.

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