The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday night that Braves third baseman Chipper Jones has agreed to restructure his contract, potentially saving the team $15 million over the next three seasons.
The deal would reduce Jones' 2006 salary from $17 million to $11 million.
According to Jones' agent, B.B. Abbott, the new contract would pay Jones $11 million guaranteed in 2007 and 2008. It also includes a $4 million signing bonus to be paid in January, and an option for 2009 worth between $8 million and $11 million, depending on performance incentives in the previous year.
First of all, when was the last time you heard a baseball player do something like this? Forget baseball player...when was the last time you heard ANYONE do this? I've really gained an appreciation for Chipper Jones over the last few years. The guy just really gets it. Sure, he made some mistakes as a young kid, but he has certainly become one of the most respected team players in the game.
Now, aside from Chipper's selfless act, this reduction in salary opens up some interesting possibilities. You have to think the Braves are ready to make a serious pitch to keep Rafael Furcal. Or, it is possible that they turn their attention to a reliever like BJ Ryan or Trevor Hoffman, both somewhat short-term solutions until the kid relievers mature.
Whatever the case, we are sure to see some action soon...thanks to Chipper.