Report: Chipper Jones restructuring deal with Braves

Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones has agreed to restructure his contract, potentially saving the team $15 million over the next three seasons, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday night.

The deal would reduce Jones' 2006 salary from $17 million to $11 million.

According to Jones' agent, B.B. Abbott, the new contract would pay Jones $11 million guaranteed in 2007 and 2008. It also includes a $4 million signing bonus to be paid in January, and an option for 2009 worth between $8 million and $11 million, depending on performance incentives in the previous year.

Jones, concerned that his salary had become a "drag" to the Braves' payroll, has offered to restructure his contract at the end of each of the last two seasons.

The deal, which won't become final until Jones passes a physical exam, would free up salary so the Braves could address other needs this winter, most notably re-signing free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal.

Under his existing contract, Jones could have earned as much as $52 million in salary and bonuses over the next three seasons were all incentives met.

The deal included options for 2007 and 2008, that would have paid him $15 million had he made 450 plate appearances or appeared in the All-Star Game in 2006 or 2007.

Jones made 432 plate appearances last season despite missing 53 games with injuries.

Jones also would have received a $5 million bonus if both options had kicked in.

Jones batted .296 with 21 HR and 72 RBI last season, appearing in 109 games.

In 12 major-league seasons, all with the Braves, Jones has a career .303 batting average with 1,811 hits, 331 home runs and 1,111 RBI. He won the NL MVP in 1999.