A very serious offer
Whether it be considered legitimate or a public relations move, the Forest City Owls have said they are “very serious” about their latest contract offer.
No, it isn’t for a hot college prospect or a new big-name sponsor.
Instead, the Owls are shooting for the moon as they have offered an assistant manager position to former Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones.
Yep, go back and re-read it ... it is the same Chipper Jones that recently retired after 19 seasons with the Braves.
“He’s retired now and we know he is still involved in baseball,” said Tyler Parsons, Owls director of ticket sales and community relations on Friday. “We figured this would be a good way for him to connect back to the college game.”
Parsons said he sent the contract to Jones’ agent, BB Abbott of Jet Sports Management on Thursday evening by mail and faxed it on Friday afternoon.
Calls to Abbott were not returned Friday.
Jones, over the course of his 19 years with the Braves, had a batting average of .303 — including a career-high .364 during the 2008 season. He ranks 32nd all-time in batting behind Jeff Bagwell, Alex Rodriguez and Cap Anson. He is ahead of players like Pete Rose, Rod Carew and Ken Griffey Jr.
Over his time with the Braves, he was named an All-Star eight years, including his last season.
Jones skipped college as he was drafted No. 1 overall in the 1990 MLB Draft. While he played in eight games with the Braves in 1993, his official rookie year was 1995 when he hit .265 with 23 home runs and 86 RBI. He was named NL Rookie of the Year that year.
His first All-Star season came in 1996 and was the first of three straight trips to the All-Star game. In 1999, Jones was voted NL Most Valuable Player after hitting .319 with 45 home runs and 110 RBI and a career-high 45 stolen bases.
In his final year with the Braves, Jones made a base salary of $13 million. The Owls are offering him $1,500 and housing for the 2013 season.
“Hopefully, money won’t be an issue,” Parsons said. “If he did come back and said he was interested, but only wanted to coach home games, we have some wiggle room with the contract.”
The Owls recently named David Tufo as their manager for the 2012 season. Tufo has not named his assistant coaches as of yet. Assistant coaches are scheduled to report to Forest City by May 20.
“It also, so happens, to coincide with the fact that we have a new coaching staff for next year,” Parsons said.
That being said, Parsons said he wasn’t sure just how realistic it was for Jones to agree to be an assistant coach for the Owls.
“I don’t expect it to be very high, but Brett Favre is an assistant coach at a high school,” Parsons said. “So, there are plenty of professionals that have coached at a lower rank just to stay in the game.”