Braves lock up Chipper Jones for $42M
Defending National League batting champion Chipper Jones agreed Tuesday with the Atlanta Braves on a three-year, $42 million US contract extension through 2012 with an option for 2013.
The deal, which could be worth up to $61 million over four seasons, ties the 36-year-old third baseman to the only major-league club he has ever played for, likely for the remainder of his career.
Owed $10 million this season in the option year of a contract that began in 2006, Jones gets a $3-million signing bonus as part of the new deal. He'll make $13 million from 2010-12, with the potential for an additional $1.5 million each year if he plays in 140 games.
The $9-million option for 2013 becomes guaranteed if Jones reaches certain levels for games played.
Jones was chosen first overall by the Braves in the 1990 amateur draft, and made his big-league debut three years later. Since then he has batted .310, ranking him second all time for switch hitters behind hall of famer Frankie Frisch's mark of .316.
With 408 career homers, Jones trails only hall of famers Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504) among men who hit from both sides of the plate.
Jones, who won the National League MVP award in 1999 after batting .319 with a career-high 45 home runs, is the only switch hitter with at least 300 homers and a .300 career batting average.
Jones is coming off a terrific season in which he flirted with the hallowed .400 mark into the month of June before winding up at a major league-leading .364 to capture his first batting crown.
He also hit 22 homers and drove in 77 runs in 128 games while earning his sixth NL all-star selection and was voted a starter for the fourth time. Injuries, though, limited Jones to fewer than 140 games for the fifth year in a row.
Jones caused a bit of a stir in Toronto earlier this month when he told the Journal-Constitution that he was bored of the city while playing for the United States at the World Baseball Classic.
With files from the Associated Press