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#pounditSaturday, October 1, 2022

Articles tagged: Chipper Jones

Smoltz Wants Chipper to Sack Up

Nothing like one veteran team leader calling a fellow veteran team leader a pussy in so many words. That’s basically what’s going on in Atlanta, if you can read between the lines of John Smoltz’s recent remarks. The stud pitcher, for whom I’ve already proclaimed my affection, made some comments after Friday’s 5-0 loss to the Tigers which marked the Braves’ third straight shutout loss. Smoltz seemed to be calling out the injured players who weren’t making their way into the lineup :

“I certainly appreciate the effort of the guys who were on the field busting it. We all wish we were feeling better, but that’s the way it goes. …

“We can’t worry about who’s in the lineup and who isn’t. You can’t worry about that stuff anymore. … The guys who are in there are busting their butts, that’s all I know.”

Chipper, who was already on the 15-day DL once this year, missed two games this week to nurse a sore groin. Jones noticed the comments and couldn’t help but feel pressured to return to the lineup earlier than he would’ve liked, belting a home run to account for the Braves’ lone run on Saturday. He also got in a nice jab back at Smoltz for good measure:

“I’ll play the rest of the games this year and do what I can,” Jones said, then followed it with a clear jab at Smoltz: “Somebody I know better not miss a start, though.”

Far be it from me to question the grind and rigors of a grueling 162 game schedule, but I will say this: John Smoltz pitches the start after he dislocates a finger. John Smoltz made 33 and 35 starts in each of the past two seasons. Chipper Jones hasn’t avoided the DL since 2003. Maybe it’s fair to say that Smoltz is tougher than the average player, while Chipper is more injury-prone than the average player. I can understand where Smoltz is coming from considering his actions speak for themselves. And especially considering that Chipper’s the best hitter on a team that’s been offensively challenged recently, Jones should feel pressure to make his way into the lineup quicker. Advantage Smoltz.

(photo courtesy Joey Ivansco/AJC)

Which SS/3B Tandem Is the Best?

Typically the trivia questions they ask at the ballpark are lame. As are the questions they pose on TV while you’re watching a ballgame. Except for in this case. My buddy, frequent commenter here at LBS, and occasional site contributor, Alan Hull, notified me that one of the questions posed during a Dodgers/Marlins game (I think) was the following: which SS/3B tandem would you rather have? The choices were excellent — making the decision about as tough as any. So I will pose it to you, along with another tandem that is somewhat noteworthy for you to choose from (age in parenthesis):

  1. Marlins:
    3B Miguel Cabrera (24) – 348 BA, 8 HR, career OPS .925, 112 career HRs
    SS Hanley Ramirez (23) – 336 BA, 31 runs, 10 SBs, .951 OPS, NL ROY
  2. Yankees:
    3B Alex Rodriguez (31) – 15HR, 39 RBI, 1.212 OPS, 2 MVPs, 40/40, 2 GG
    SS Derek Jeter (32) – 362 BA, 23 runs, ROY, 3 GG, WS MVP, .317 career BA
  3. Mets:
    3B David Wright (24) – 254, 3 SBs, 69 career HRs, .301 career BA
    SS Jose Reyes (23) – 352 BA, 982 OPS, 31 runs, 19 SBs, 3x NL SB king
  4. Atlanta Braves
    3B Chipper Jones (35) – 10 home runs, 23 RBI, 1.042 OPS, 1999 NL MVP
    SS Edgar Renteria (31) – .338 BA, 906 OPS, 5 time All-Star, 2 Gold Gloves

On the surface, you might just say the Yankees without hesitation. That’s not a bad answer, and probably the tandem I’d want for the next 3-5 years. But can you so easily deny the youth of the Marlins and Mets? The Braves was the tandem I added to the discussion because, well, I feel like an argument can be made for them. If it were just for this season, I’d go with the Yankees tandem. If it were to start a franchise, I dunno, tough call between the Mets and Marlins. If you’re talking about the best 3B/SS bargain financially, no question — it’s the Marlins. You pretty much can’t go wrong with any of the three. But how lucky are the Marlins and Mets to have what they do for now, especially at those prices?