He has only 57 games remaining in his Dodgers career, maybe an additional three playoff losses, but then that will be it for Jeff Kent.
Most probably he will retire and wait five years for the call from the Hall of Fame, but rather than pull a Brett Favre, he says he will absolutely be sure before saying so.
"There are too many crying guys on TV who wake up later saying, 'What did I just do?' " he says. "I'm a man of my word, and if I say I'm going to do something, then I'm going to do it."
But even if the situation presents itself -- allowing him to be closer to his family in Texas and play for a World Series contender -- his four-year tenure with the Dodgers is almost over.
Until now he has refused to talk about any of this, as if he likes to talk about anything, but then that mask came off here years ago -- the growl only a disguise to be ignored.
"The four years here have been wonderful, and this organization is doing a good job of getting somewhere," says Kent in explaining why he won't be with the Dodgers next season. "But I'm not at the stage in my career where I'm going to get somewhere. I need to be there right now.
"And so we're just at different phases of our career."
His desire to be with his wife and four children in Texas, he says, more than his 40th birthday this past March, have him contemplating retirement.
"This will not be just about me," says Kent, No. 63 on baseball's all-time home run list. "They're in this with me.
"The first month of this season was very hard. I was away from the family a long time. They are with me now, but go back to school in a few weeks, and at this stage of my life, I hate to go alone for so long."
Funny he should say so, known best as the consummate loner in the clubhouse, a part of his reputation, though, he disputes with some irritation and sarcasm.
"I don't hang out with the guys -- never have," he says. "I don't go out drinking, look at porn, have a girlfriend or get divorced -- so I'm selfish.
"I've given everything I've got to this game, sacrificing my body, time with my family and a number of other things," he says, and while grouchy at times, he admits he will probably cry when it's over for good. "The game has meant everything to me."
Up close and personal, the game meaning so much to him, he hasn't cheated the fans of anything now for 17 years. But who gets that close?
The debate has been ongoing here since opening day 2005, the Dodgers playing the Giants, Kent unapproachable and abrasive as everyone predicted, while also proving to be the consummate professional, every play mattering to him as if the fans deserved to get his full effort.
Why so dedicated to being remembered as a jerk rather than the 20th-round draft choice who went on to hit more home runs than any other second baseman in history?
"No doubt I've been tough on the media," he says. "But there's always been a part of me fearful of letting people know too much about me and it affecting my game."
Maybe so, but what a shame if he leaves this game known better for the way he treated writers than opposing pitchers.
"That would be sad," says Dodgers Manager Joe Torre. "Some guys are like that, though, and need the curtain to separate themselves from everyone to be competitive. I caught for Bob Gibson in an All-Star game, went out to the mound and he wouldn't talk to me.
"I knew Jeff from seeing him on ESPN, the impersonal look on his face and the same replays showing him mixed up with Barry Bonds. But I've come to know him, and baseball is very personal to him -- even though he keeps it personal."
Kent might treat everything but the game as a distraction, but it's hard to find an athlete smarter or more insightful on those rare occasions when the mask does come off.
"Tough, and not always in a good mood, sure," Kent says, and insisting for so long that it doesn't matter to him what people think, he continues to protest.
"Difficult to approach, yeah, but I wouldn't say jerk," he says, and the argument is on once again with Page 2.
Sure going to miss that.
ANDRUW JONES came off the bench to single in a run, giving him 13 RBIs, the Dodgers paying him almost $1.4 million per RBI. And some folks say the Parking Lot Attendant doesn't spend money.
NOMAR GARCIAPARRA is going to miss time with a sore knee, leaving Angel Berroa in his place.
So it will be interesting to see who the Dodgers acquire in a trade before Thursday's deadline to play shortstop.
T.J. Simers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.