Anyone that expects that the pending agreement between the Braves and Troy Glaus signifies a long-term first basemen coming to Atlanta, I wouldn’t hold your breath for too long. After playing in only 14 games in the 2009 season and only 6 games at first base in his career, Glaus appears to be a one-year option (at an affordable rate of only $2 million mind you) to hold down the spot until Freddie Freeman is ready for the majors in 2011. This shouldn’t be anything too new to Braves fans however; there was a story in the AJC earlier this week showing that Glaus will be the 12th different opening day first baseman for the Braves in the past 14 years.
Pending a physical in the next week or so, Troy Glaus will become the latest offseason addition to the 2010 lineup for the Braves. So this begs the question; who is Troy Glaus? He’s a 6’5″, 240-lb right-handed big man that, before undergoing shoulder surgery this past January, was one of the most reliable bats in Major League Baseball. Glaus has had 5 seasons with 30 or more home runs (and twice been over 40) as well as 4 seasons with 100+ RBI. If all goes as planned, he will likely fill the cleanup spot between Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. This type of offensive threat could drive Chipper to have a little more production that he hasn’t seen since Mark Teixeira was batting behind him.
But this isn’t just a simple answer to the issues the Braves have a first base. While Glaus batted .270 with 27 home runs and 99 RBI in 2008, he battled multiple ailments in 2009 and only played in a handful of games. In that time he went 5-for-29 at the plate. Thankfully, the Braves have the benefit of a full physical before finalizing the deal to bring Glaus to Atlanta. If healthy, he could provide a little more offensive production, which is definitely on our Christmas wish list for 2010.
The part that scares me however is that he’s not really a first basemen. Six games over a 12-year career at the position is hardly an experienced first basemen. So the defensive aspect of this acquisition still leaves a lot to be questioned. One question answered by this however is that this likely ends any hopes for Adam LaRoche to return to the Braves in 2010. Despite hitting .385 in 2009 after returning to the Braves, the salary and contract term that would have been required to keep LaRoche around was a little more than the front office was looking to spend. Once again, Glaus is nothing more than a cheap bridge until Freddie Freeman is ready to head to the majors.
So, until the season starts and we really see what Troy Glaus has got, it’s hard to tell the impact he will have on the team. Financially, the moves by Frank Wren this week leave the Braves with around $7 million to spend, but will they? Maybe we’ll see Jason Bay coming to Atlanta. (Don’t hold your breath on that one, by the way.) What else is there for the Brave to acquire this offseason? What else do you want to see? And more importantly, what does Glaus bring to the team?