Chipper back with Braves as special assistant
ATLANTA -- As Chipper Jones has watched the Braves rebuild from afar, he has gained a sense that the organization has positioned itself to at least have an opportunity to enjoy the kind of long-standing success that he experienced while spending the entirety of his professional career with Atlanta.
Just three years removed from retirement, Jones is not quite ready to reintroduce himself to the daily grind of a long baseball season. But the highly respected former third baseman will assist the Braves' rebuilding effort this year while serving in an advisory role as a special assistant to the baseball operations department
"I think this is great for the Braves," Atlanta general manager John Coppolella said. "Obviously, he is one of the best Braves players ever. I think he can help our young players, and I think he can help our scouts prepare for the Draft. I think whatever we can get from him will be a very positive thing for us and our franchise."
Though Jones has remained in contact with Atlanta's coaches and front-office members over the past few years, he will now do so in an official capacity. He plans to spend some time with the Braves during Spring Training in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and he will then spend the remainder of the season periodically assisting the Braves with endeavors at both the Major League and Minor League levels.
Coppolella said the Braves have not set any specifics with regard to the time Jones will spend or the duties he will have working within the organization.
"After a few years of decompressing, I came to the undeniable conclusion that I want to be around the game again and, more particularly, around the Atlanta Braves," Jones said. "Because of what we are in the process of building for this city and our fan base, I am extremely excited to be dipping my toe back into the water that is Braves baseball."
Jones has stood as one of the most beloved players in Braves history dating back to when he was taken with the first overall selection in the 1990 Draft. He made his Major League debut in 1993 and served as a rookie third baseman for the 1995 Braves club that provided Atlanta its only World Series title.
When Jones retired at the end of the 2012 season, he stood with Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig as the only players in Major League history to record at least 2,500 hits, 1,500 walks, 1,500 runs, 500 doubles, 450 home runs and 1,500 RBIs while hitting .300 with a .400 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
Jones' entrance to Baseball's Hall of Fame could come as early as 2018. In the meantime, he will have a chance to provide the Braves and their young players with the same vast knowledge that helped the likes of Mark DeRosa, Adam LaRoche, Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman and so many other Braves players over the past two decades.
Over the course of the 19 seasons he spent with the Braves, Jones batted .303 with 468 home runs and a .930 OPS. He ranks first in Atlanta history (dating back to 1966) in games played, hits, runs, doubles, home runs, walks, on-base percentage, RBIs and extra-base hits.
"I look forward to working with our players, as my passion for the art of hitting is something I hold near and dear to my heart," Jones said. "My hope is that I can be an extra set of eyes on our players and help supplement an already strong baseball operations department and coaching staff. I am honored to be back working with the Braves."