The Cardinals have a question to answer. What in the world are they going to do with Troy Glaus? The big slugger is a week into a twenty day rehab assignment in the minors and should be cleared to play by August. With Cardinal third-sackers combining for a pathetic .275 wOBA, you would expect that getting back a hitter like Glaus would be welcome news.
Unfortunately for St. Louis fans, Glaus can’t throw across the diamond without experiencing pain in his right shoulder. Swinging the bat is another thing, but that doesn’t seem to help the Cardinals. Well, that is unless they would consider some outside-the-box thinking, like say switching Pujols and Glaus to opposite sides of the diamond. Otherwise, Glaus will be limited to being one expensive pinch-hitter.
Let’s consider the crazy, um, I mean creative side for minute. Early in his career, Pujols played 96 games at the hot corner. According to UZR, he was worth -4 runs per 150 games; not great but by no means damaging given his numinous bat. While that was years ago, checking the results of Tango’s Scouting Report by the Fans, Pujols’ instincts and hands are nigh impeccable, both desirable traits in a third baseman. On the other hand, his arm strength rates as below-average, which is of course is less than what you would like. For what little it might be worth, based on his different grades for the various fielding skills, both Eric Chavez and Mike Lowell pop up in Albert’s similarity scores. So we know that Pujols is an elite defender at first, and chances are he could hold down the fort at third base just fine for the next few months.
Aside from limiting Glaus to pinch-hit duty, the other option would be trading him to an American League team looking for a DH, such as Detroit. This would most likely mean the Cardinals would have to eat most of the remaining $6 million left on his contract and getting little in return.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Pujols unselfishly asked to play third, but his manager dismissed the idea. Tony LaRussa is built his reputation as someone who will toy with lineups in order to gain even the slightest advantage, but doesn’t want to tinker with Albert. I definitely can understand the reticence when it comes to dealing with his superstar, but it seems to me that moving him to third for two months is hardly as big of deal as it initially appears to be. Considering the Cardinals have long been trolling the trade market looking to add a bat, giving away a Glaus for nothing would be a waste.