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Posts Tagged ‘Chipper Jones’

On Smoltz, Chipper has a point

Posted by jmkraft on January 9, 2009

It kills me to agree with anything that Chipper Jones says. Some call him the consummate professional. I call him a lot of other names. But Chipper has a very good point in his disapproval of the Braves’ failure to resign John Smoltz

Here’s what Chipper told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman yesterday:

“Of all the gambles that we’ve taken that didn’t pan out over the years, this is one gamble that you want to take,” Jones said. “For a couple of million dollars, I’m sorry, I just don’t understand this.”

Jones is absolutely right here. It’s not like the Red Sox signed Smoltz to a multi-year deal. At Smoltz’s age, it’s very likely that he’ll play a season with the Sox, try and win a ring, and retire. I’m sure that Smoltz, who really is the consummate professional, would have just as happily signed a one-year deal with the Braves to end his career in Atlanta, even though that would have meant pitching for a struggling club. 

I recently read John Schuerholz‘s book, Built to Win, and was impressed by the Braves’ President’s refusal to deviate from the accepted business practices of the Atlanta Braves. He has his way, and he’ll stick to it. But there are times when principle should be put aside. And this is one of them. Schuerholz and Frank Wren made the wrong decision to cut ties with Smoltz. This is a pretty telling quote about the situation:

For more than two months, Smoltz has privately said that he felt the Braves would take him for granted with the assumption that he would eventually take their offer and spend his entire Major League career with one team.

How did principle work out there, guys?

Had they resigned him, in the worst-case scenario, Smoltz would have served as a mentor to the Braves’ crop of young pitchers. And he would have gone out the right way. Now, all the Braves are left with is a bunch of angry fans and an angry Chipper, which is never good for business. In two short years, the Braves have gone from contenders, with a great young crop of players and a solid pitching staff, to a joke, with a barebones staff and a weak lineup. As a Mets fan I can’t say that I’m shedding too many tears, but it is a sad story.

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