Troy Glaus is the newest member of the Atlanta Braves after signing an incentive laden one year deal with the club ending his tenure with the Cardinals (early estimates place the deal at $2 million plus whatever incentives he reaches). Does the former slugger have any juice left?
A first round pick, third overall in 1997, Glaus broke in with the Angels and in his first full season he socked 29 long balls. Over the next three years (2000-02) he socked 47, 41 and 30 taters, each year also knocking in over 100-runs, before injuries began to strike. In 2003 he was limited to 91 games, and the following year things were even worse with a mere 58 games played. In 2005, his only year with the D’backs, he re-established himself as a power force with 37 HR and 97 RBI, totals just under what he produced in his first season in Toronto (38, 104). His second season in Toronto (’07) was once again filled with injury as he was limited to 115 games. He again rebounded in his first year in St. Louis hitting 27 homers with 99 RBI before a completely wasted 2009 season that saw him take the field only 14 times.
Why did he play a career-low 14 games? His shoulder, operated on in January, simply never came around to the point where he could make the throw across the diamond from third base. The Cards tried him in the outfield for a while thinking it would be less strenuous on his arm making the odd throw from the outfield, but that idea was eventually scrapped. Given the deterioration of his wing, Glaus has pretty much been pigeonholed as either a first baseman or a DH, and given that St. Louis has a pretty fair option at first in Albert Pujols, he really had no place in St. Louis. Hence the move to Atlanta makes sense as he will be asked to play first base after the Braves decided to let Adam LaRoche walk.
At this point what does Glaus have left? Honestly, that is anyone’s guess. A shoulder is so vital to a players swing that an issue in the joint could easily sap the power from a player’s swing by hindering his ability to whip the bat through the strike zone. Given my personal fondness for Glaus, unintentionally my swing was basically a mirror image of his (or was his a copy of mine, I mean I am three years older), I wish the man luck. However, this is a tenuous situation. The Braves reportedly went over every scrap of medical data they could get their hands on and they were apparently assured that Glaus would be able to physically hold up to the rigors of the season. While I have a hard time believing Glaus will be able to suit up for 140 games and match the production that LaRoche would have offered, the club did save millions of dollars that they can allocate for other needs. And heck, what if Glaus rebounds to the hitter he once was? After all, he has been pretty darn good in his career.
* Glaus has won two Silver Slugger Awards.
* Glaus has made four All-Star teams.
* Glaus has four seasons of at least 37 homers. By the way, there are only two third basemen who have ever lived that have more 37 homer seasons (Mike Schmidt had seven, Eddie Matthews had six, and Harmon Killebrew also had four). Moreover, every season of his career in which he has accrued 500-ABs (there have been seven), Glaus has hit at least 27 bombs
* Glaus has six seasons of at least 97 RBI.
IF Glaus is healthy, and I put that “if” in caps for a reason, the Braves may have rostered a nice power bat on the cheap. However, if I was the Braves I’d have a Plan B at the ready because I’m far from convinced that Glaus will be able to return to the heights he has previously flashed.
A RECAP OF THE DEAL
By Ray Flowers