What to Do About Troy Glaus?

In May, the Braves surged into first place. Troy Glaus was a huge part of that. In April, the team had scored just 85 runs on the way to a 9-14 record, a major disappointment given preseason expectations. Glaus, a gamble signing, looked cooked, hitting just .194 and producing a .282 wOBA. But in May he found his groove, producing a .408 wOBA that helped the Braves score 163 runs. The gamble looked like a clear win. A .375 wOBA in June helped reinforce that notion.

Towards the end of June, Glaus started to slump a bit, going 4 for his last 38 in the month, including 0 for his final 12. The stumble has turned into a prolonged slump. Since June 18, he’s hitting just .175/.301/.279 in 183 PA. He has battled through a few nagging injuries during that time, including his left knee and left wrist. Manager Bobby Cox gave him a break in early August, but if that has helped the results haven’t shown it yet. Since his return to the lineup on August 6, he’s just 8-for-35 with one walk and three extra base hits.

What can the Braves do to keep Glaus healthy and productive? The most obvious answer would be to play him less often, something that Peter Hjort of Capitol Avenue Club advocates:

The organization has to do something about Troy Glaus, he’s not fit to play at the moment.  Disable him if you think he has something left this season, release him if not.  Call up Freddie Freeman if you want, or call up Barbaro Canizares and platoon him with Eric Hinske (the option I prefer).  Either way, you’re going to be getting a lot more from 1B than you would by continuing to play Glaus.

Freeman, the team’s No. 2 prospect before the season, is hitting .311/.371/.516 in the International League as a 20-year-old. He hits left-handed, so the Braves could set up a platoon with him and Glaus. The same can be done with Hinske, though his numbers against righties have dropped a bit since his early season success. Both platoons sound like a better situation than bringing up 30-year-old Canizares, though he his hitting quite well during his third full season in AAA, a .885 overall OPS and a .963 OPS against left-handed pitching. They might catch lightning in a bottle with him, but a Glaus platoon with either Hinske or Freeman sounds like a better bet.

The Braves could also scour the waiver wire for a first baseman. According to MLBTR’s players who cleared waivers list, Lyle Overbay is the only attractive fit. His season line of .249/.330/.420 doesn’t look too pretty, but he’s hitting .251/.344/.431 against righties and .280/.363/.517 since July 4. He does have a no trade clause, but the desire to play for a contender for the first time in his career could become motivation to waive it.

It has become clear that the Braves need to shore up their weakness at first base. With Chipper Jones done for the season the Braves need all the offensive reinforcements they can get. Indications point to Glaus wearing down, so a platoon situation could benefit him. Whether that’s with a rookie like Freeman or an import like Overbay remains a decision in the hands of the Braves front office. But they have to do something. To leave the problem alone would be to neglect a vulnerability at the worst possible time. The Braves have had a division lead since May, but it’s just two games now. The Phillies are getting healthier. The Braves have to act.

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Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.

23 Responses to “What to Do About Troy Glaus?”

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  1. Beer me! says:

    As a Braves fan, it’s hard to believe this is really the position of the team. A black hole at 1B and another in CF, and Chipper done for the year, all while 2 games up on the Phillies with 45 games to go. Lyle Overbay isn’t going to help anyone win anything any time soon.

    If the injury to Jones had occurred prior to the trade deadline, I think an acquisition like Adam Dunn, Prince Fielder, or Chone Figgins probably would have happened. As it is, I suppose it’s the old familiar refrain that unites baseball fans everywhere: There’s always next year!

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    • Anon21 says:

      I’m not ready to write this year off. Our rotation may still be strong enough to keep us in this thing.

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    • joser says:

      They could probably still get Chone Figgins. I suspect he’d pass through waivers without difficulty, and he may be available.

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    • Sophist says:

      first 22 games: 3.7 R/G (8-14)
      next 48 games: 5.5 R/G (34-14)
      last 47 games: 4.1 R/G (26-21)

      Crazy since the personnel hasn’t been much different throughout that period, esp. since Prado was ably replaced with Infante and Chipper didn’t go down until recently. Seems like this coincides with Glaus and Heyward showing their ages. Wonder if you had anymore incite as a Braves fan.

      If they average 4/G for the remainder, how many games will they win of their remaining 45? And before people note their easy schedule (it is easy), the Braves are 14-15 against the Mets-Marlins-Nats this year.

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    • SHE says:

      As a fan?? U don’t sound like a fan at all…..we might have a few positions that could be better but to say ur ready to give up on this year is ridiculous….we still have a killer rotation, solid fielding, and momentum that keeps us going into the 9th inning where we obviously know how to come back if we need to…if u don’t want to support the Braves till next year thats on you, i’m going to sit back, cheer, and watch a great season end in a great way!!! LETS GO BRAVES!!! WS HERE WE COME!!!

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  2. K26dp says:

    I’m pretty sure Freeman’s not an option at this point, just because I don’t think the Braves want to start his arbitration clock.

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    • dan says:

      If the Braves think that he would win the starting job out of the gate next spring, then I don’t think it will affect his arbitration clock to bring him up now.

      As a Braves fan, I hope they’re not placing their hopes in the basket of Troy Glaus returning as the 1B next spring, so perhaps Freeman does make sense now. Then again, that’s a lot of rookies for a pennant chase. . .

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      The Braves don’t seem to be a team that places too much emphasis on arbitration clocks and if Freeman doesn’t prove to be useful (if he is useful there isn’t a reason to delay his clock) then he can always be sent back down and the clock will stop ticking until he is called back up.

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      • Beer me! says:

        Kevin Goldstein says Freeman’s approach is a bit unrefined to be successful in MLB at the moment. He’s 20, and he’s just not quite ready yet. After the rest of this year playing every day, the AFL, and then Spring Training of working on that approach, he could be ready by opening day or at least by next June.

        Freeman can’t help this team right now.

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  3. don says:

    What do the dots on the graph represent?

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    • Ty says:

      don –

      The dots represent Glaus’ WOBA plotted over the past 3 seasons. The higher points represent more productive moments during each season, while the lower points represent less productive moments, while I would imagine the red line is the average.

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  4. deadpool says:

    This is one of the articles that you see here that almost seems delayed. Glaus is still only 5 for his last 20, but 2 of those have been HRs. Given the progression of his turnaround in May, it seems possible that Troy could be useful again by the end of the week. I’m not saying that’s certain or that the Braves wouldn’t be better served to look for other help, just that this article would have been more poignant a week ago as opposed to the deluge of articles that cropped up all over the media that eschewed analysis to simply declare the Braves dead in the water.

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  5. Phantom Stranger says:

    He just looks so old and injured every time he steps to the plate or runs out a ground ball. Before Chipper got hurt, I thought the smart thing to do would have been to move Chipper to 1st and acquire a decent stopgap at 3rd via trade or waiver wire. But Cox has a nasty habit of sticking with name veterans long after they stop producing, and that includes Glaus.

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  6. Undocorkscrew says:

    Glaus has been awful over a pretty large sample size, but he has been swinging the bat well over the past week and a half. The results haven’t shown up, but he’s hit 2 HR in that span and hit an absolute rocket to dead-center in Houston that would’ve been out in any other ballpark. He does appear to be breaking out of it, but I think a platoon of him and Freeman is the best option at this point. Freeman is red-hot and the Braves could use a potential shot in the arm considering the options for that are limited both inside and outside of the organization.

    And the Braves have the pitching to win this division. Sure, the Phillies are looking strong and getting healthier…….but no way in hell am I going to write this team off. There’s a reason they’ve been in first place every single day since May 31st. They have the rotation and pen to win, just need the offense to pick it up. Prado is about to return and Infante is a capable, steady back-up for Chipper.

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  7. cheesegromit says:

    couldn’t agree more

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  8. Lance cake says:

    Frank Wren keeps saying that Freddie Freeman needs to be brought along slowly. I translate this as he isn’t as patient at the plate as Jason Heyward.

    Glaus has to be taken out of the lineup for the sole reason he is a 4 hitter hitting like a 7 hitter. His inability to run out anything hit on the ground, combined with his lack of RISP production screams someone else other than Troy at first.

    Disable him, bring up Barbaro, or make a deal.

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  9. Beer me! says:

    Woke up this morning very happy to hear the Braves decided to pass on Aramis Ramirez. A Figgins sighting in Atlanta, perhaps?

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  10. Peety says:

    I all for Barbaro he is a hitter and can be platooned with Hinski then sit Glaus for a week or two.

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  11. Merlin says:

    Glaus is a liability at the plate and in the field. An examination of his two homers shows they were virtually the same pitch in the same spot. Both came off of pitchers under stress who had already been slapped around a bit. In the post season, against the best pitching, the odds of that happening are significantly reduced. That’s a nice way of saying he is easy to pitch too unless you screw up badly. His batting average is about 240, his strike out average is 235; he’s almost exactly as likely to strike out as get a hit. With the bases loaded he hits 235, his double play average is 235 and his strike out average is 175. In other words 40% of the time he does nothing positive and 23.5% of the time he does.
    While he did snag a couple of shots at first base the last two games his opposite number James Loney showed how the position should be fielded. Having a real first baseman there instead of Troy makes Omar better at second, Alex better at SS and Conrad/Prado better at 3rd as well as improving defense against sacrifice bunts and on throws form the outfield.Good first basemen save runs and shorten innings more significantly than any other position save catcher. Troy is not a good first baseman. He is not a dependable power bat or RBI man. He hits into double plays 17% of the time with a runner on first. If I have to have a low average first baseman I want a sharp fielding first baseman. Perhaps Freeman isn’t ready to hit in the bigs. He probably won’t hit 300 any time soon but if he hits 225 he’s better than Troy. Hes also a sharp fielder -consistently 990 and above currently 993 -and a real first baseman. That’s why he should be here and Troy should be on the bench or DL if his wheels are that bad. If they manage a waiver wire deal for a GOOD third baseman then playing Prado at 1st makes even better sense as it solidifies defense at both places as well as improving the bats.
    Figgins is not in play here. Seattle couldn’t eat enough salary or crow. Ramirez is way too expensive unless the Cubs swallow a LOT of salary. For that they would want a jewel or two from or minor league system. He probably wouldn’t clear waivers anyway as St Louis and SF and Philly are in the way – unless of course they fear the Cubs dropping him like a hot potato. I’ve seen Clint Barmas mentioned too. I think the same issue of waiver clearance exists there. Ty Wiggington would work and should have cleared today from what I read.
    Whatever the answer is, we need to score more and give away less so Troy needs to go.

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