Chipper Jones is on pace to finish the season with 4.2 Wins Above Replacement, which would give him one of the five or six best last seasons in major-league history, and place him among the very best players to voluntarily leave the majors. He’s played in only 62 of the Braves’ 100 games this season, but still ranks among the better third basemen in the National League; rate-wise, he’s been among the league’s three best-hitting third basemen. He’s got a 136 OPS+, just a few points lower than his career mark (141).
The problem is, it would be difficult for Chipper to come back for one more season, because he’s told everyone he’s not coming back, and so he’s been gathering trophies and commemorative third bases and the like. Hey, maybe he did this on purpose. Maybe he thought he wanted to retire after the season, but was afraid that if he didn’t go through the whole farewell tour and wound up having a good year, he wouldn’t be able to resist coming back for another go-round in 2013.
I’m a baseball fan. And I will say, right now, that I won’t hold it against Chipper if he wants to come back. I won’t hold it against him if keeps all the swag, and I won’t hold it against him if he comes back next season and doesn’t play nearly as well as he’s played this season. I just want him to keep playing for as long as he’s still good, and he sure looks like he can be good for yet one more season, even after turning 41.