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Braves’ Jones to Get Record $275,000 Bonus

From Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves and their No. 1 draft choice, Chipper Jones, wasted no time in coming to terms after the team made Jones the top pick in baseball’s free agent draft.

Jones, who had accepted a scholarship to play at Miami of Florida, decided to forgo college and signed a contract late Monday that contains a record signing bonus of $275,000.

Jones’ father, Larry Jones, said the terms are “extremely fair,” covering $68,000 in college education and a bonus that tops the record $241,000 the Braves gave prep catcher Tyler Houston last year.

“It’s the most substantial signing bonus a high school kid has gotten,” said Larry Jones, who negotiated the deal with Braves Assistant Vice President Paul Snyder at the Jones home in Pierson, Fla., after Monday’s draft.

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“We were in the ballpark right away,” Chipper Jones said. “We said what we wanted, and they said what they wanted to give, and I said why don’t we split the difference both ways.”

The 18-year-old shortstop also is to receive incentives for each level attained and a life insurance annuity that pushes the total value of the package to about $400,000.

“We’re very high on Chipper,” said Braves General Manager Bobby Cox. “He’s already an excellent defensive player and has shown outstanding ability as a switch-hitter.”

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Jones, who played at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., is Florida’s high school player of the year. He hit .488 this season with 10 doubles, five home runs, 25 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases.

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