Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones will end his 19-year career at the end of this season, having served as the face of the franchise throughout his years in Atlanta.
Back in March, Jones told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that mantle should be passed on to catcher Brian McCann.
Brian McCann is solely going to be the face of this franchise starting this year. He's a great kid. He's a great player, and he's the kind of guy you want to build a ballclub around. It would be sad to see him go somewhere else. Unfortunately, the business of baseball and economics of baseball may not allow it. We'll have to see.
The business Jones was referring to was, of course, the status of McCann's contract. The Braves hold a team option for next season, and with McCann's performance this season, there's no guarantee the Braves will exercise that option.
However, McCann is one of the most respected men in the Braves' clubhouse regardless of his numbers. As a native Georgian, McCann plays in front of a hometown crowd that truly appreciates his efforts.
McCann's down year offensively is indeed troubling. However, he's also been battling a sore right shoulder that could require offseason surgery and more recently right hamstring tendinitis and knee issues.
I don't believe the Braves are ready to give up on a player who has won five Silver Slugger awards and earned six All-Star selections in seven-plus seasons.
McCann will be back, and he will be a more than worthy replacement for Jones as the face of the franchise.