The news all Braves fans were dreading today has finally come. Third baseman Chipper Jones will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. The Braves lose their leader on the field. They lose perhaps their most important hitter. This will be a huge blow to morale on the team, and a most unfortunate way for such a respected player like Jones to end his season, and possibly his career.
This will undoubtedly be the the most challenging time of Frank Wren's tenure as General Manager. He has lost his veteran third baseman and middle-of-the-order stalwart during a pennant race. He now must determine if he should make a trade, and if the answer is yes, then who should he trade for and how much should he deplete the Braves system in order to acquire an impact player, if one is even available.
With the flexibility of Martin Prado to play either second base or third base, there is no need to pigeon-hole a trade for just a third baseman. If a second baseman is more easily available, then that trade could be made. But make no mistake, the offense of Chipper Jones will be hard to replace, but if the Braves are to remain in first place then the team will have to try and replace his offense somehow.
My thoughts are with Chipper and his family as they face this difficult time. Certainly Chipper was already thinking of retiring, but I'm sure he wanted to go out on his own terms, and not like this. One has to wonder if this will hasten his decision to hang up his spikes, or if he will try to return to the team next season.