Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones positive to play next season – MLB News
The Atlanta Braves crashed out of the postseason in a dramatic fashion on the last day of the season, dropping a comfortable lead in the Wild Card standings during September and consequently losing a certain berth to St. Louis Cardinals in the National League.
Needing just one win to ensure qualification, the Philadelphia Phillies swept their NL East Division rivals in the three-game season-ending series to eliminate what could have been a strong potential opposition in the pennant race. However, the Phillies could not last long and crashed out as early as the NL Division series, losing to the Wild Card entrants in Game 5 to bring an end to 102-win regular season.
Chipper Jones, Atlanta’s third baseman, however, remains adamant that he will fulfil his commitment with the ballclub for the next season and the result towards the end of the season has made no impact on his decision.
“I’ve committed to playing next year,” he said. “I won’t commit past that; let’s put it that way. [But] I’m looking forward to it. As tough a pill as it is to swallow, for a lot of these young guys it’s a learning experience.”
The 39-year-old seasoned shortstop admitted that the team failed during the last few weeks of the regular season, but was of the viewpoint that this is an opportunity for young players to learn and resurface as improved players.
After having spent 17 years in the Majors, Jones has no intent of playing beyond the 2012 season. He has one year left in the three-year 42-million-dollar contract, with an option of 9-million-dollars for 2013 which vests automatically if he plays at least 123 games in the next season or averages 127 games over 2011-2012.
Jones played 126 games in 2011 and impressed with his offensive abilities as well as defensive qualities. He drove in 70 runs, including 18 home-runs at an average of .275 which, for his age, is nothing less than impressive.
It is vital to bring up the fact that Jones underwent a season-ending knee surgery in August 2010 and has gone the extra mile in keeping himself fit ever since. The veteran now aims for the pennant in his last season at the Majors.