"The main thing is that the decision is up to me," Jones said. But I'm the one who has to make the decision." Sticking to his rigid practice of keeping contract negotiations private, Schuerholz isn't providing any comment concerning Jones' future.Instead, Atlanta's GM is focusing his thoughts solely on the upcoming season, one which will almost definitely be strengthened by the nine-time Gold Glove center fielder's presence.But instead of focusing on the riches that other outfielders, such as Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano, have received, Jones says he has spent much of this winter maintaining the mind-set that his sole intention is to spend his entire career in a Braves uniform. "I'm not saying I'll play for cheap when the market is so high; I won't do that. It's up to the Braves whether they want to keep me or not." With Scott Boras serving as his agent, there's a popular belief that Jones will find himself counting his riches outside of Atlanta by the time the 2008 season arrives."I know how the market is right now, and I know a lot of teams are paying a lot of money for guys right now," Jones said. It's no secret that Braves general manager John Schuerholz would love for his business world to exist without the presence of Boras."I always want to do something to help my team win." Part of Jones' desire to remain with the Braves is to continue his close relationship with manager Bobby Cox, who has seen his determined center fielder play in at least 153 games during each of his 10 full Major League seasons. I don't know if I could ever play for somebody else who could be as great as he is as a person and a manager." When it came time for Jones to sign his current contract after the 2001 season, it was his actual father who came from Curacao to help with the negotiations.
While Schuerholz won't make a public comment, Jones is quick to say that he would love to get an eight-year contract that would allow him to essentially end his career with the Braves.Jones would be just 38 years old at the conclusion of an eight-year deal, and seemingly not quite ready for retirement.But his current mind-set is that he doesn't want to reach a point of his playing career where it becomes obvious that he's no longer capable of providing the power and defensive skills that have made him a surefire Hall of Fame candidate."It's not a bad contract for eight years," Jones said. He says he doesn't want to negotiate during the season. But you want to be completely set to the point where your son's son doesn't have to do anything, if that's possible." This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs."Sure, you could go somewhere else and get [a better annual salary]. But when the season ends, Jones is hoping that he receives the fair offer that will allow him to remain a Brave and, at the same time, allow him to gain the riches that will allow him to continue to supporting his family far into the future.