Chipper Jones a July fit for Dodgers or Angels?
You've heard this story from the Dodgers and Angels in many previous summers, and you'll probably hear it from them again this summer: We'd like to trade for a big bat.
How about Chipper Jones? The idea was floated by none other than Jones himself, in a revealing interview today with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jones, incensed that the Braves did not match the Red Sox offer for franchise icon John Smoltz, said he might be the next one out the Atlanta door:
"This is my last year under contract with Atlanta. And this last 24 hours certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by me. I haven’t been offered an extension. If we’re 15 games out in July or August, I doubt they’re just going to let me become a free agent and get nothing in return."
The six-time All-Star said he has yet to hear from the Braves this winter about a contract extension. In the meantime, the Braves have missed out on A.J. Burnett, Rafael Furcal, Jake Peavy and now Smoltz.
"I’ve just been chalking it up to the Braves have bigger fish to fry. But it seems like somebody keeps coming along and eating all our fish."
The Braves traded Mark Teixeira to the Angels last July, with the Angels sending Casey Kotchman -- a young first baseman to replace Teixeira -- and a minor league relief pitcher in return. The comparable position player for the Angels this time would be third baseman Brandon Wood, but the Angels had Kendry Morales and Mark Trumbo lined up behind Kotchman at first base. The line at third base has yet to form.
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: In this scene from 2002, Chipper Jones, left, shared a laugh with John Smoltz, who had just collected his 48th save of the year. Credit: Ryan Remiorz / Associated Press