Having three of the worst players in the National League would seemingly ruin most teams’ chances of making the playoffs, but not the Atlanta Braves’. While three of their opening day starters (four if you include Derek Lowe) have done their best to continue Atlanta’s postseason absence, three others have been amongst the best in the league. Here are six players, three on each end of the spectrum, that have had the greatest impact on the Braves’ season so far.
1) Brian McCann (4.9 Wins Above Replacement, tied for 6th in NL)
No one seemed too worried after Brian’s OBP dipped to .349 a season ago and with good reason. His eye problems are seemingly a thing of the past as he has produced a triple slash line of .281/.388./.484 so far this season. The plate discipline is back, and most defensive metrics say he has significantly improved his performance behind the plate as well.
2) Martin Prado (4.0 WAR, tied for 16th in NL)
Many Braves fans were happy to see Kelly Johnson go last off-season. While he has bounced back (in a big way) out in Arizona, Prado has all but matched his output in Atlanta. Although his bat looks better at second, he is clearly more comfortable playing third base, the silver lining of Chipper’s injury.
3) Jason Heyward (3.8 WAR, tied for 23rd in NL)
Undoubtedly the single most important upgrade from last year’s team was the promotion of Jason Heyward. The Braves’ right field, despite Matt Diaz’s best efforts, was a disaster last season. Everything totaled, Francoeur, Diaz, and Ryan Church combined for an OPS of .743 at the position. Heyward’s triple slash line of .278/.389/.475, however, has made the Braves forget about all that. Everyone knew he was going to be something special, just not this good this early.
1) Troy Glaus (.4 WAR, 9th worst among all qualified NL players)
Troy’s second half has made May a distant memory, and April seem quite vivid. Bad legs seem to have been his undoing, and the Derrek Lee trade spelled the end of any significant playing time. There is a good chance he has started his last game as an Atlanta Brave.
1) Melky Cabrera (-.6 WAR, dead last among all qualified NL players)
Not much to say here. Francoeur plate discipline + softball power + shoddy glove = worse than a replacement level player. If Frank Wren has any sense, and I believe he has lots of it, Melky will be non-tendered this off season.
2) Nate McClouth (-1.3 WAR, dead last among ALL NL players)
He does not even have enough plate appearances to be qualified, yet he still tops the list for the worst offensive player in the National League. Unfortunately, I just wrote about one of his replacements; the other isn’t much better either. Regardless of what level he plays at next season, the Braves are on the hook to pay him $6.5 million. Oh, and they will have to pay another $1.25 million to buy him out for 2012 as well.
Tags: Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Melky Cabrera, Nate McLouth, Troy Glaus
Posted in General | 6 Comments »
With every at-bat or play at first base, it’s quite apparent that Braves first baseman Troy Glaus is in a lot of pain and unable to play up to his full potential. Gone are the days of May where he was hitting everything in sight, whether it was over the plate or not, and now, the best we can do is hope he doesn’t hit into a double play at the wrong time. Rumors have begun circulating that the Braves are close to making a move for Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee.
In his day (he’s been around the league since 1997), Derrek Lee produced some solid numbers from the plate. He’s had 9 20-HR seasons and is 5 shy of 1000 RBI in his career. To date in 2010, he has 16 homers (4 of which came last weekend) and 56 RBI. In the month of August, Lee is batting .306 and slugging .694 with 4 homers and 8 RBI. By contrast, Glaus is hitting .208 and slugging .375 with two homers.
On the surface, it seems like a logical move. It would give Glaus time to get healthier (although I doubt that can truly happen until the offseason) and would add a little more pop to the lineup. The kicker however, is that Lee is injured as well. His performance has been hampered by a bulging disc in his back, which, after receiving an injection for the pain, has him sidelined until today or tomorrow at least.
Lee would definitely be a rental, as he is a free agent at the end of the season, and would have to waive his no-trade cause, which he would likely do as Atlanta is contending for the NL East. The rental issue doesn’t bother me however as he would serve as the next step in the bridge to getting Freddie Freeman into the majors (which I still maintain the Braves don’t have to rush to do). The question is, is sitting one injured first baseman for another injured first baseman the right thing to do. With Troy’s performance as of late, I’d say it’s an option that we seriously need to consider.
Tags: Chicago Cubs, Derrek Lee, Trade Rumors, Troy Glaus
Posted in Injuries, Roster Moves, Speculation | 1 Comment »
Through last Friday’s game against the Marlins, Troy Glaus was the only member of the Braves that had played in all 80 of the team’s games. Since then however, Glaus has missed the team’s last 3 games with swelling and soreness in his left knee, which he has apparently been dealing with for the past couple of weeks.
The swelling, attributed to normal wear from the season, did not immediately respond to a cortisone shot on Saturday, but has since gone down a bit. Glaus is hoping to make it back to the lineup for the Braves in this evening’s game against the Phillies.
The main question I have is whether or not the Braves should be rushing to get him back in the lineup or if a stint on the disabled list might be necessary for Glaus. The main reason I wonder is that, in the past 16 games, he has only hit .132 with 1 HR as opposed to .362 with 7 HR in the 16 games before. It’s hard to tell how much the knee’s bothering him, but I’m okay if we have to let Hinske play first for a couple of weeks to get Troy healthy.
Here’s hoping he doesn’t relapse to the Glaus of April………
Tags: Disabled List, Injury, Troy Glaus
Posted in Injuries | 3 Comments »
After the hottest of Mays, the Braves were forced to turn their calendars to June (despite consistent urging from Chip Carey) and have seemingly left their past struggles in the month behind. The Braves have gone 17-11 in the month despite having to deal with significant injuries, including the loss of their All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth who in 2008 batted…never mind. All joking aside, here are the reasons why I believe the Braves more than survived June as well as some concerns looking forward.
1) Martin Prado, Troy Glaus, and Kris Medlen
After a ridiculous April in which he reached base over 42% of his plate appearances, Martin Prado came back down to earth in May. At some point during the month Jerome Jurenovich suggested that he should be starting the All-Star game; I almost fell off the couch laughing. Of course at that point Chase Utley was on fire, and I could never have foreseen the power surge Prado has had. While posting an OPS of .947, Prado led all National League second basemen with 14 extra base hits in the month of June. He now boasts the highest OPS amongst all NL second baggers and almost unquestionably deserves to start the All-Star game. With Utley on the DL and Prado leading the majors in hits, this seems very likely.
Troy Glaus has been no slouch either. A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I would rather have a former Brave who sometimes forgets that he is playing baseball while in the field over TG. I no longer feel this way. After being named National League POTM in May, Glaus has continued to swing a hot bat in June. Although his OBP dipped, he still belted 8 doubles and 6 homeruns to tie Prado for the team lead in extra base hits for the month. He also came close to stopping a couple of balls hit to his left (wink wink).
While Tim Hudson’s numbers are spectacular, I would argue Kris Medlen has been better. According to Baseball Prospectus’s SIERA (Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average), which is basically a stat that shows how lucky Ubaldo Jimenez is, Medlen has out performed Huddy and ranks 33rd in the category amongst all Major League pitchers with at least 70 IP. Perhaps more importantly for the Braves, Medlen has been their saving grace in the absence of Jair Jurrjens and will now allow them to move Kenshin Kawakami to the bullpen.
2) J-Hey to the DL and Big Red struggles
On May 30th Jason Heyward’s OPS was 1.017, tops in the National League. Since then Heyward has struggled mightily, posting an OPS of .532 in June while striking out a whopping 32 times. While the Braves and Jason cite his injured left thumb as the reason for his struggles, I doubt this to be the sole reason. As Mark Bowman of MLB.com pointed out in a recent article, Heyward was on fire for the first fifteen games after jamming his thumb which hardly seemed to be bothering him then. While it apparently got worse, it seemingly became an issue only after he started struggling. Hopefully rest will allow Jason to regain his stroke and return to his spectacular form.
While Tommy Hanson has struggled in his past two starts, I see little reason for concern. His K/BB ratio is slightly better than it was a year ago as he is striking out a batter an inning, and his BABIP is a ridiculously high .347. This is simply a product of bad luck and will almost certainly come down. Two bad starts in a row is not a trend, it is merely an aberration. As long as his velocity remains constant (and according to pitch FX it has) there is nothing to worry about.
Despite their success so far this season, the Braves could easily finish third in the NL East. While I think they are still the favorites to win it at this point, anything can happen over the course of the next three months. Hopefully the return of Jurrjens and the recovery of Heyward will be more than enough for the team to distance themselves from the ailing Phillies and overachieving Mets in July.
Tags: Kris Medlen, Martin Prado, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Troy Glaus
Posted in General | 1 Comment »
The latest All-Star vote totals are out and despite Jason Heyward, Brian McCann and Martin Prado solidly in second place for their positions, Troy Glaus is getting shafted. Glaus is in fourth place at first base behind Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, and Prince Fielder.
Now I know Glaus only turned it on starting in May, but he’s been absolutely ON FIRE since then. But then again, All-Star voting is a popularity contest and popularity is rarely based on pure stats. Chipper Jones is a prime example this – he’s third in third base voting behind Placido Palanco and David Wright, and we know that Chipper doesn’t deserve to be considered the third best third baseman in the league this year. The numbers just aren’t there.
Unfortunately for Glaus, he’s on the shafted end of the popularity contest.
Here’s some data to consider. To this point in the season, the top 4 vote-getters have amassed the following stats:
However, if we remove Glaus’s April slump, his numbers are as follows (I’ve linearly replaced his April results with his current pace for H, R, HR, RBI):
So a look at overall performance on the season and Glaus seems to be right around where he should be, though I can argue that his numbers are better than Prince Fielder’s and comparable to Ryan Howard’s. However, in the past 8 weeks of baseball, Troy Glaus edges out Howard as the best NL first baseman
What Braves should be on the All-Star team? My votes are on McCann, Prado, Glaus, Heyward, Hudson and Hanson, with Wagner on the cusp. I doubt we’ll see Hanson on the team, but Glaus might make it as a reserve. The guy deserves (in my opinion) to be at least second ranked at first base. He’s been the hottest first baseman (or player) in the game over the past couple months. But unfortunately for Glaus, the All-Star game (at least when it comes to position players) is really about who plays for the big market teams with active fans.
Tags: All-Star Roster, Troy Glaus
Posted in Speculation | 2 Comments »
Jon Heyman of SI.com wrote an article hailing the top 20 baseball decisions made this year. Three of ‘em are the decisions of your very own Atlanta Braves. Let’s take a look and see if these are truly the top 3 decisions made by Frank Wren and team.
- #10 – The decision to start Jason Heyward in Atlanta in 2010
- #15 – The decision to get rid of Kelly Johnson and start Martin Prado
- #17 – Resigning Tim Hudson
Now while I’ll agree that all three of these have been absolutely crucial to the Braves’s success in 2010, I’d add a couple more to the list.
- Signing Troy Glaus. Without Glaus in the middle of the lineup to provide some additional protection for the top of the lineup, where would the Braves be? Would Heyward be doing as well if the lineup weren’t as potent behind him? Glaus has been the offensive key the Braves have been missing in past years, and his .400 batting average (and .600 slugging percentage) with 2 outs and runners in scoring position has him a near lock for the comeback player of the year.
- Signing Billy Wagner. Wags (or The Sandman, if you prefer) has been absolutely dominant this year. If you haven’t seen him pitch in person this season, you’re missing out on how dominant he is. Having Wagner at the back of the Braves’ bullpen has certainly been one of the keys to success this season.
Those are the other decisions I’d put with Heyman’s three to round out the top five decisions of 2010. Ranking which decisions are most important to the Braves’ current success is difficult though. How would you rank ‘em?
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Billy Wagner, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Tim Hudson, Troy Glaus
Posted in Roster Moves | 3 Comments »
Before I start, I’ll admit that I was one of those people that was calling for the head of Troy Glaus when April ended. I’ve made my apologies about that and everyone else should do the same. Go ahead. Admit it. I won’t judge you. You probably talked bad about Glaus six weeks ago as well.
Anyhow, Glaus’s walk-off homer to beat the Royals continues an impressive two months of play. Since May 1st, Glaus has 46 RBI, placing him atop that category in the NL. The next closest? 37 for David Wright. All of this after having only 9 RBI in the entire month of April. With his 55 total RBI now however, Glaus finds himself leading the NL in RBI and only a couple shy of leading MLB as a whole.
So yes, we all wanted rid of Glaus after he batted .194 in the month of April, but he has really come on to prove his worth. His average is now up to .281 and continues to rise. If he continues at the pace he’s going (including the 12 homers he’s hit since May 1st) we’ll be more than happy to have him around.
On a random sidenote, tonight’s walk-off win was the 13th final at-bat victory for a Braves player on the season (7 are walk-offs as indicated by the asterisks) and in case you’re keeping track, the tally is as follows:
- Jason Heyward x3 (4/18*, 5/19*, 5/30)
- Brooks Conrad x2 (5/20*, 6/12)
- Chipper Jones (4/7)
- Nate McLouth (4/20*)
- Matt Diaz (5/5)
- Martin Prado (5/14*)
- Melky Cabrera (5/18*)
- Omar Infante (6/2)
- Brian McCann (6/10) – 4 runs total scored in the inning; McCann had the go-ahead hit.
- Troy Glaus (6/19*)
I like that the Braves are scoring runs late in the game, but I’d be a lot happier if we’d start plating more of the runners that we get on base in the earlier innings.
Tags: Troy Glaus, Walk-Off
Posted in General | 6 Comments »
With just over one quarter of the season in the books, I have decided to go back and judge (albeit prematurely) Frank Wren’s off-season performance. At 25-22, the Braves’ record is slightly better than it was it this point a year ago (23-24) even with the nine game losing streak. Listed below are a few off-season moves made by GM Wren and their impact on the club.
1) Signing Troy Glaus to replace Kotchman/LaRoche
While Glaus has improved on his horrific start (.601 OPS in April), he is still a below league average first baseman. What I mean by this is if NL teams were conducting a draft for THIS season only, with salaries being equal, I believe Glaus would be selected somewhere between 9th and 12th. Having said that, salaries do matter, and Glaus’ (1 yr/ $1.75M) was virtually zero risk. Still, attempting to sign LaRoche for a contract similar to the one he has with Arizona would appear to have been the better move. He is tearing it up out west (an .879 OPS) and has traditionally gotten better as a season goes along (career second half OPS of .909). Although he was never anything special defensively, Glaus looks much worse at first base so far. Wren probably feared blocking first base prospect Freddie Freeman by signing LaRoche to a multiyear deal, but Freeman is only twenty years old and does not have great numbers above “A” ball so far (not everyone is Jason Heyward).
Verdict: Glaus is likely to continue his solid offensive play, but LaRoche would have been a better option if we had the coin to sign him. Freeman will likely start by 2012, but there are no guarantees. It makes no sense that the Braves did not at least attempt to negotiate with LaRoche.
For the Record: The NL first basemen that I would for sure take over Glaus this year (salaries equal) are Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, and Derrek Lee.
2) Trading Vazquez and signing Huddy
Both Vazquez and Cabrera have been terrible (and I mean really terrible) so far this season. The difference is Melky has a pretty average to mediocre track record while Javy is likely to turn things around. Either way Tim Hudson has more than filled Javy’s shoes so far this season and for a couple million dollars less. While I believe Hudson’s numbers will come back down to earth eventually (his 2.24 ERA is over two runs less than his 4.50 xFIP), it appears that keeping him over Vazquez was the right move. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that the Braves received the nineteen year old Arodys Vizcaino in the deal who has pitched brilliantly so far in his minor league career.
Verdict: Good, possibly, great trade. Even though we did not get the power hitting outfielder Wren may have wanted, we are better off in the short term with Hudson over Vazquez, and Vizcaino looks like he is going to be a stud.
3) Replacing Garrett Anderson with Hinske
This was a good move for dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons. Two weeks ago I wrote that Hinske should start in left but not to get too excited. While I still support my statement, he has been exceptional to this point and here’s to hoping it continues all year.
Verdict: You are an idiot if you do not think this was a good move and please never comment on this website again.
4) Replacing Gonzalez/Soriano with Saito/Wagner
This may have been Wren’s riskiest off-season move(s). Saito and Wagner are not getting any younger but have pitched very well this season. Between the two of them, they have 39 IP with 48 SO to only 15 BB while giving up only 12 ER. That’s good. Also, Mike Gonzalez’s arm may fall off any second now, and while Soriano may have pitched well so far, Wagner has matched him.
Verdict: So far so good. If these two keep the ball in the yard and stay healthy we are going to win more one run games than we lose.
Wren’s moves have ultimately made this team a little better, and I believe this combined with the promotion of Jason Heyward has made them significantly better. If this assessment is correct, this should be team that wins ninety plus games. It sounds weird to say that and injuries always have the possibility to derail teams, but I am feeling pretty optimistic right now.
Tags: Billy Wagner, Frank Wren, Melky Cabrera, Takashi Saito, Troy Glaus
Posted in Roster Moves | 5 Comments »
Every Major League Baseball team enters spring training with the goal of finding answers to a variety of questions. Some of the questions surrounding the 2010 Atlanta Braves were never considered points of concern at all by Braves officials, but these doubts and queries made their way around the blogosphere nonetheless. So with only a week or so remaining in the ’10 Grapefruit League season, let’s take a look at the questions raised in regard to these Braves and what answers pre-season play has provided. We’ll start with the Braves lineup today and will address the pitching Q&A’s later this week.
Q. Is Troy Glaus’ shoulder healthy and strong enough to allow him to return to ’08 form?
A. Glaus’ shoulder IS healthy and strong. The Braves were confident in his health long before now, or they never would have signed him to be their everyday First-Baseman in the first place. And the 33 year-old slugger’s spring has provided further confirmation of his health. He has hit close to .400 through in 37 spring at-bats, in addition to drawing 10 walks. Though he has hit the ball hard, he has yet to homer this spring, but Braves fans need not be alarmed. We’re talking about a guy who has never hit fewer than 27 homers in a full season of play… a HR total he reached as recently as 2008, before spending most of ’09 on the shelf. Now that he’s healthy and strong, there is no reason to doubt the power threat that he represents in the middle of the Braves’ order.
Bear in mind also that numerous sluggers, including perennial 40-homer threats like Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder and Cincinnati’s Adam Dunn, have yet to hit a pre-season homerun. So long as Glaus remains healthy, you can likely pencil him in for something close to 30 HR’s.
Q. What does Chipper have left in the tank?
A. This question cannot be fully answered in the pre-season; however, he has looked very good to this point with a spring average of over .300 and a mammoth homerun to his credit. Chipper spent a good bit of time in the weight room over the winter and reported to camp noticeably bigger and stronger, and it appears his hard work has already begun to pay off. Braves officials remain convinced that his poor second-half ’09 numbers were simply the result of a prolonged slump (it can happen to the best of them) and in no way an indication of deteriorating skills. That would be my guess as well. Only time will tell, but so far, so good.
Q. Is Jason Heyward ready for the Show?
A. Yes. Heyward’s raw talent and physical maturity put him on the big league radar sooner than most, but it was his personal maturity and advanced approach to the game that ultimately sold Braves’ officials on his readiness.
Many have argued that it would have been more prudent to hold Heyward at AAA for the early part of the season in order to avoid negative financial/contractual implications down the road. However, I would respond to that assertion with a question: “Could having Heyward in the lineup on April 5th – as opposed to weeks or months into the season – make the difference in even just 1 or 2 wins?” I believe the answer is YES. And in a division that could easily be decided by 1 or 2 games (as is always the case with the Wild Card), can the Braves really afford NOT to have their very best team on the field from day-1?
Working from the assumption that he’s ready to make a difference at the big league level, to hold Heyward out of the Atlanta lineup for any period of time is to risk missing the playoffs again THIS year… in order to have a better chance in 2016 or 2017. The Braves made the correct call.
Q. What’s wrong with Nate McLouth, and will he bounce back?
A. This is the one question that was born during this spring, after the Braves’ Center-Fielder was found buried in a rather ugly 1-for-35 slump. McLouth endured a lingering hamstring injury after his mid-season trade to Atlanta last season, but reported to camp healthy this year and with improved focus, thanks to a visit to the eye doc and new set of contact lenses. With healthy legs and enhanced vision, expectations were high for McLouth before his spring struggles began to deeply concern many observers, including me. Fortunately, he appears to returning to form. Over his last three Grapefruit League games, he is 4 for his last 9 with a homerun.
Tags: 2010 Braves, Chipper Jones, Jason Heyward, Lineup, Nate McLouth, Troy Glaus
Posted in General | 10 Comments »
As fall gave way to the holiday season last year, Braves fans had visions of Matt Holliday or Jason Bay dancing in their heads. It quickly became apparent, however, that those star outfielders couldn’t be squeezed into Atlanta’s budget any more than David Wells could fit into his high school uniform. Even Adam LaRoche, who provided such a lift after his return to Atlanta late last season, managed to price himself out of the Braves’ plans with his original asking price (reported to have been 10 million per year).
Other power bats, such as Washington’s Josh Willingham and Florida’s Dan Uggla, were rumored to have been on the Braves’ radar. In the end, however, the winter offensive additions were Troy Glaus, who missed most of last season due to injury, and part-time slugger, Eric Hinske.
Not quite what most Atlanta fans were hoping for, and it’s understandable if you’re a bit underwhelmed. That said, Braves faithful need not lose any winks. The ’10 Bravos will plate plenty of runs to support their outstanding pitching.
How can I be so sure? Because General Manager, Frank Wren, didn’t need to overhaul this lineup over the winter. Many fans have been waiting for the Braves to fix a problem that hasn’t existed since the middle of last season.
From June 28 until the last week of the season (a stretch of 82 games; more than half a season), Atlanta not only posted the best ERA and best record in the NL… they also led the league in runs scored.
It wasn’t a fluke that Atlanta began punishing opposing pitchers when they did. The offensive explosion began when the Braves dumped 3 tons of dead weight from the lineup in favor of highly productive hitters. Jordan Schafer – playing with a fractured wrist, as it turned out – was an automatic out through most of April and May. However, in June, he was replaced with ‘08 all-star Nate McLouth. A horribly slumping Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur gave way to Martin Prado and Matt Diaz, who each hit better than .300 and slugged in the upper .400’s.
Then of course, after filling the gaping potholes in the lineup, notorious late-season masher, Adam LaRoche, returned to Atlanta at the trade deadline in a swap for the light-hitting Casey Kotchman.
When the mid-season renovations were complete, Frank Wren and Co. had overhauled no less than HALF of his lineup. The Braves’ offense was modified more in the middle two months of the season than it was over the entire previous offseason.
But the Braves’ newfound offensive muscle was quite possibly the best kept secret in baseball. Many fans and national sports media types continued to talk as though this were still an offensively challenged team. It is a misconception that apparently refuses to die. For reasons I cannot fully get my arms around, fans and baseball talking heads continue to yawn in the general direction of the Atlanta lineup.
My best guess is that the Braves’ offense is underrated because it just isn’t flashy. No blazing speed; no Jose Reyes or Ichiro. No MVP candidates, such as Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols. There is no one here, with the possible exception of Jason Heyward, who will be scoring a Gatorade commercial in the near future. Nothing especially flamboyant… just a lineup full of guys who can hit.
This is a batting order stocked with hitters who, with a couple of exceptions, will likely all hit around .300. Atlanta will get at least 15 – or so – homers from EVERY position on the field, and 4 or 5 starters could launch 25 HR’s. Additionally, several Atlanta hitters could lead the league in doubles.
BOTTOM LINE: This is largely the same lineup that led the NL in runs from June 28th until the games stopped counting in late September. There have been two modifications: LaRoche and Garret Anderson give way to Troy Glaus and (in all likelihood) Jason Heyward. And I think you would be hard pressed to call that a downgrade.
So rest easy Braves nation. Contrary to popular – and ill informed – belief, offense isn’t a problem here. It hasn’t been a problem since last June. And given the strength of this pitching staff… unless Lady Luck is in a particularly bitchy mood this year, there’s a lot of fun to be had at The Ted in ’10.
Tags: Braves 2010 Offense, Eric Hinske, Offense, Troy Glaus
Posted in General | 8 Comments »
Not long after officially adding Troy Glaus to the 2010 roster, the Braves added Eric Hinske to serve as a pinch hitter and bench player. The plus side to having Hinske on the roster is that he can serve as a backup to Troy Glaus; allowing for some much-needed off days to reduce the risk of reinjury. Additionally, he can play the corner outfield and back up Chipper at third, who we all know will miss a few games here and there. As far as I’m concerned, he’s an improvement over Greg Norton. Besides, he’s been on a team in the World Series the past three seasons; why would the Braves want to break that streak?
With Hinske signing a one-year, one-million dollar contract earlier this week, it looks like the Braves are pretty much done with new signings for the offseason. That’s not to say that Frank Wren won’t still come up with some trade (I can think of a few that I wouldn’t mind seeing), but as far as allocating money for new players, we’re pretty much spent. Look for something to happen with Brandon Jones in the next couple of days; he was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man for Hinske.
As expected, we didn’t see the front office go after a big-name offensive power, but instead spread the money around on a few different players. Melky Cabrera for $2 million, Troy Glaus for $4 million and Hinske for another million. Was this a good use of our available $7 million? To be determined. The success of these moves hinges heavily on Glaus managing to stay healthy and Hinske’s ability to produce from the bench. I’m confident he’ll have a solid year in a backup role.
In other news, Mark McGwire did steroids…..who knew?!
But anyways, it looks like this is pretty much the squad the Braves will be taking to Florida in 36 days when pitchers and catchers report. Thoughts on the offseason moves to this point? I think we’re better off in a couple of spots, worse off in a couple, and there is a ton that is yet to be determined. It’s getting to be that time of year when we’re all just itching to see baseball start back up again. I know I can’t wait.
Tags: Brandon Jones, Eric Hinske, Spring Training 2010, Troy Glaus
Posted in General, Roster Moves | 3 Comments »
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?