Former Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones discussed Ryan Zimmerman’s transition from third base and his own temporary move to the outfield during a recent appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM. The eight-time all-star also had some positive things to say about Zimmerman’s successor at third base.
“I did it to help us be a better ballclub,” said Jones, who played left field in 2002 and 2003 before returning to the hot corner in 2004. “It was cheaper for us to go out and get Vinny Castilla to play third than it was a high-priced corner outfielder, and I felt like I was a good enough athlete to do it. I just couldn’t keep my hamstrings in one piece, and that’s a serious problem. Look, Zim is a great athlete. Does he have the typical characteristics of an all-star outfielder? Maybe not. He probably doesn’t run as well as I did early in my career. But, as his arm and his well-chronicled throwing problems at third base have gone, something’s gotta change.”
Something has changed, of course. Zimmerman has looked comfortable — and, at times, quite good — in left field, and he played well in his first career start at first base on Sunday. Jones suggested that wherever Zimmerman plays, Anthony Rendon should be on the field too.
“Anthony Rendon is probably the best player on that team right now and they have to find somewhere for this kid to play, because he can flat-out hit,” said Jones, who echoed Kevin Frandsen’s praise for Rendon. “I don’t know why he’s not hitting third right now, because he’s the best hitter they got. But Zim coming back, obviously you gotta get his bat in the lineup right away. He’s backing up Adam LaRoche hitting in the five-hole right now and doing a great job.”