Troy Glaus

Dave · September 22, 2004 at 11:26 am · Filed Under Mariners 

In our continuing series of mini-articles on prospective free agents, I’m tackling Troy Glaus today. I’m hoping to knock out two more later this week. If you guys have any requests for players you think we may not discuss, bring them up in comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

For me, Troy Glaus has been on the verge of becoming a superstar for about six years now. I talked him up a great deal when he came out of UCLA as a shortstop, and his tear through the minors gave the appearance of a potential hall of fame slugger. In 2000, at age 23, he hit .284/.404/.604 and was tremendous defensively, making him worth about 11 to 12 wins over a replacement level third baseman. That’s an MVP type season, and at age 23, put Glaus in rare company.

Glaus has never gotten back to that level of productivity however, and his .284 average that season is beginning to look like an outlier. His BA in other seasons run .218, .240, .250, .250, .248, and .267. That’s a pretty consistent pattern of production, and when coupled with his high strikeout rates, he appears unlikely to post averages in the .280 mark with any kind of regularity. His power has remained consistant as measured by extra base hits as a percentage of total hits, basically a determination of how often he hits the crap out of the ball. In that 2000 season, 85 of his 160 hits, or about 53 percent, were extra base knocks. In 2001, when his BA, OBP, and SLG dropped to .250/.367/.531, 81 of his 147 hits, 55 percent, were extra base knocks. The decline wasn’t due to any loss of power, but simply a reversion to a lack of hitting singles that he’s displayed throughout his career.

Injuries have taken their toll on him the past few years, but he looked healthy in spring training. In April, I wroteI have this feeling that (Glaus) is going to take the Carlos Delgado leap from good player with big time power to dominant, offensive wrecking ball.“. More shoulder problems ruined the makings of that career year for Glaus this season. He hit .270/.341/.662 in April and followed it up with a .353/.476/.765 May before more shoulder problems shut him down. He hasn’t been nearly the same hitter since returning in September, hitting just .207/.313/.431. Clearly, Glaus has shown throughout his career that when he’s healthy enough to make consistent contact, he can be a monster, one of the best hitters in the game, but his health is a legitimate concern at this point, and even when healthy, he still has not quite been the superstar that he could be.

BP’s PECOTA system projected a nice bounceback year from Glaus, but a plateau for most of the next few years with only a remote possibility of a return to his 2000 form. Glaus was projected to be worth between 3 and 4 wins above replacement for the next three years, with his decline coming around age 31, a bit earlier than most. His continuing shoulder problems and lack of playing time will probably make him even more comparable to Dale Murphy types who fell apart long before one would expect them to, based on normal aging patterns.

So, what about Glaus as a Mariner? He could certainly infuse the team with some needed power and production from third base, but the risk is very high. Between his apparently chronic health problems and near total reliance on his power for value, he’s not likely to age well. He should not be counted on to play well into his thirties, and giving him more than a two or three year contract looks like an unnecessary risk. Depending on how the market treats him, Glaus may actually prefer a one year deal this offseason, giving him another chance to have a big year and cash in while still in his prime.

Based on expected performance, Glaus should be worth about $8 million per season for the next few years, but he comes with considerable risk of returning nothing on that investment, likely knocking down his value in the marketplace. If he can’t find someone to give him a 3 year, $24 million deal (the top endof what I feel he should expect), I would be in favor of the M’s making a run at him with a 1 year deal for $8-$9 million and a club option for the second year. The potential is there to infuse the offense with needed power and, at worst, he’s a decent trade chip at the deadline. A one year deal for Glaus is relatively low risk with solid upside, but the Mariners would almost certainly have to outbid all other teams financially to convince him to take the trip up north for only one guaranteed year. However, I’m uncomfortable guaranteeing Glaus a significant part of the 2006 or 2007 budget, and his health problems make him virtually uninsurable.

I believe the Mariners should let Glaus know that they have interest in his services, but would like to let the market establish his value. If he decides to take a one year deal, he’s a good place to overpay, as he’ll come with more potential than just about any other player not getting a multiyear commitment. If he can find a team willing to sign him through 2007, however, wish him luck. That’s just a big commitment with a large unknown that the M’s don’t need to be making.


33 Responses to “Troy Glaus”

  1. U.S.S. Mariner » Free Agent Writeups on November 16th, 2004 4:23 pm
    […] the ones I’ve completed to date: Matt Clement Carl Pavano Brad Radke Richie Sexson Troy Glaus Corey Koskie Carlos Delgado Adrian Beltre Hopefully, I’ll knock out Edgar Renteria, J.D. […]

  2. Troy Sowden on September 22nd, 2004 11:56 am

    Dave, let’s say we somehow sign Beltre (or, for the sake of this discussion, Aramis Ramirez, who I’d like to vote for for a mini-article), but neither of the big OF’s can be brought in. What would you think of signing Glaus to that same one-year deal to play 1B?

    In my mind, the pros are that he’ll likely cost less than Delgado and is a huge improvement over anything we have (Ibanez). The biggest con would be that both of our biggest signings are righthanded power hitters who could be significantly hurt by Safeco.

    Signing him for first base lowers his value, but may be safer since in theory there’s less chance of injury at first. Plus we have Ibanez behind him, who isn’t a bad backup and would be an overpaid but decent bat off the bench who we could use if Troy did go down.

    I’m not sure Glaus would be a better option for first than Sexson or some others we could probably find cheaper, nor am I convinced he’d WANT to sign a one-year deal just to play first base (it would likely defeat the purpose of signing a one year deal by deflating his future value even further). Overall, I would probably vote no to this concept, but it’s an intriguing possibility, especially if Glaus comes relatively cheap.

  3. Jeff Sullivan on September 22nd, 2004 11:59 am

    As long as we’re dropping names, I’d like to see a comparison between Pavano and Clement.

  4. Dan on September 22nd, 2004 12:07 pm

    Glaus should be looked at as a 1B. Relying on him as a 3B next year is ridiculous; the angels have said he likely wont see time at 3B even if they make the postseason, so there’s really no way to judge how well his arm has recovered and whether or not he has the strength he once had. He also becomes a defensive liability – if you sign this injury prone slugger and play him at 3B, do you really want him diving around for ground balls, etc? Already since coming back he did a slide and came out of a game from a sore shoulder.

    Overall, i like him, and wouldn’t oppose signing him to a 1yr like you say, but there is already crowding on the corners in the mariners infield, and i think there will be better options for signing some offense.

  5. Dave on September 22nd, 2004 12:09 pm

    The names in the queue right now are Pedro, Pavano, Clement, Benson, Millwood, Milton, O. Perez, Radke, Varitek, Sexson, Nomar, Renteria, Magglio, Hidalgo, and Jacque Jones. We’ve already done Drew, Beltre, Beltran, Delgado, Koskie, and now Glaus, so most of the rest will focus on pitching and the lower tier hitters.

    Also, Aramis Ramirez isn’t free agent eligible until after next season.

  6. Paul Weaver on September 22nd, 2004 12:12 pm

    Should the Mariners really be thinking about a one year contract? Where does that leave us in ’06, ’07? There aren’t any 3b prospects tearing up the farm. I like the risk involved with a multi-year deal to Beltre, because, fluke or not, he would be part of the project Mariner – and should fill the 3b hole, unless he takes a Cirillo-like dive.
    In the case that LA (or some other team) outbids the Mariners, they will need a 3Bman. Glaus is a better option than Koskie offensively, but he’ll come at a higher price tag with greater injury risk. If Leone doesn’t surprise us all, perhaps Lopez can move over with the signing of a good fielder at SS.
    Since the FA market in ’06 and ’07 probably won’t be ripe with 3b talent, I don’t like the idea of thinking short term with short contracts. I can’t think of many instances where power hitters blossom into their 30s, so I think that looking at Glaus as a long term solution would be optimistic at best.
    Third base has been an inconsistent position for the Mariners for years.

  7. Troy Sowden on September 22nd, 2004 12:25 pm

    Thanks Dave, I don’t know where I read that he was an FA, but somehow I got that idea. Sorry about that. At least that means the Cubbies won’t be in the Beltre hunt.

  8. Daniel Reed on September 22nd, 2004 12:30 pm

    Thanks for the piece on Glaus, Dave. I find these analyses of potential off-season acquisitions quite interesting. I mainly agree with what you have to say about T. Glaus — he would be a risk long-term, to be sure. That said, if you could sign him for a discount because of the injury concerns (and the concomitant drop off in production the last several years), he might be worth the risk. Say, 3 years at $6M per year. I would do that deal.

    On a slightly different note, what about Mike Lowell as a potential FA third basemen? I believe that he becomes a FA if the Marlins do not secure a new stadium. My understanding is that they will not receive a new stadium. Could we get a similar analysis of Lowell? I think he might actually be the Mariners’ answer at third should he become available.

  9. Jeff Sullivan on September 22nd, 2004 1:01 pm

    On Lowell: here’s your source for the possibility that he opts out of his deal.

  10. Simon on September 22nd, 2004 1:02 pm

    How about a look at Tony Batista? *cough*

  11. Troy Sowden on September 22nd, 2004 1:18 pm

    Lowell’s another interesting idea. He turns 31 before next season starts, so he could be in for a decline, and if he voids that contract he’s walking away from $7.5 million, so he won’t be cheap. He’s always been a good, but not great type, and for the money he’d command plus the fact he’s (barely) on the wrong side of 30, I’d probably pass. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks though.

  12. Jimmie on September 22nd, 2004 1:21 pm

    What about Morgan Ensberg? He’d be a cheap 3B option and it looks like Houston has had enough of the guy to give him up for, say, Franklin? 🙂


  13. Paul Weaver on September 22nd, 2004 1:32 pm

    Ensberg is a guaranteed Safeco bust. His home/road splits are ridiculously skewed, and you could expect him at Safeco to have home/road splits that would like road/road splits. If his defense is okay (I really don’t know), and we need SOMEBODY/ANYBODY at 3b, then that would be a cheap way to patch up the hole – maybe he would be a good PH vs Lefies off the bench…..

  14. RSJ on September 22nd, 2004 1:38 pm

    Is there any way to link to the past player profiles you guys have done? I’d love to be able to access them easily…maybe even just link the names as they’re listed on the big offseason post. Thanks.

  15. eponymous coward on September 22nd, 2004 1:39 pm

    Dave made the argument that Ensbergs a canidate for busting out ala Richie Sexson a few blog posts back.

    My counterargument is that Bucky Jacobsen has better overall minor league stats and is the same age, and Sexson is all of 9 months older than both of them and broke out years ago in a tougher park, so I don’t see it. If Ensberg’s a good candidate to bust out, Jacobsen’s an even better one.

    If Ensberg was a low-cost fallback plan after we struck out on other 3B options AND we made other signings, sure- he’d likely be a better option than Leone, Spiezio or Lopez on a one year flyer with a club option. But I wouldn’t be putting him at the top of the list, and I’d concentrate on other players first.

  16. Dave on September 22nd, 2004 1:49 pm


    We’ll be adding the links to the player profiles in the 2005 construction post shortly. Until then, the search function in the upper right hand corner is your friend. Just search for “Carlos Beltran” or “Adrian Beltre” and you’ll get all of our posts containing their names in reverse chronological order. The profiles are pretty easy to spot.

  17. tyler on September 22nd, 2004 1:55 pm

    Ensburg might not be a bad idea, if it means ridding us of he of the many pitches, none of them good.

    Hell, do it as a money saver and let the guy fight it out with Leone/Lopez at third and sign Renteria at short. Maybe not an upgrade, but possibly an opportunity to lower payroll in order to get a superior player at SS, OF, 1B, AND a front tier pitcher– or two.

    I’m such an optimist!

  18. stan on September 22nd, 2004 3:53 pm

    Signing Glaus to me would be throwing money at a question mark. He has not shown the ability to stay healthy. I do believe he is coming back from rotator cuff surgery earlier this year. Who knows if he will be able to make a throw from behind the third base bag over to first when he does get back on the field. Moving him to first would be an option, though I assume that would be at the expense of the cheaper option of having Bucky on the roster. Glaus and Bucky look like similiar players to me, though Glaus obviously has a longer track record of major league production. I would stay away from all of the injured free agents; Glaus, Ordonez, Sexson, or Nomar could be signed to incentive laden short term contracts but in the end it does not really benefit a team if the player does not reach the incentives.

  19. Cap on September 22nd, 2004 4:59 pm

    Pass on Glaus if it’s more than a year + a club option at $8 mil per. Sure, he may be a good hitter for the next two years, but let another team take that chance on the long term plans. When you’re building a team you don’t need to be eating a bad contract that could possibly set you back when you’re gearing up for contention in 07.

    Maybe we can see a piece on what teams have productive 3B’s and who has the cap room to go get Beltre? It seems like a lot of the cool teams who are traditionally FA players are solid at 3B already.

    I’d like to see the PECOTA projections on Garciaparra vs Renteria, too. Thanks

  20. Jerry on September 22nd, 2004 5:01 pm

    I think that the M’s need to focus on 2006 and 2007, and sign one or two players to multi-year contracts. Signing Glaus to a one year deal would really be teading water. It wouldn’t be a bad move as a plan C. He would also be a candidate to be traded at the deadline, as Dave has pointed out. But suppose he did stay healthy, and play to his full potential, with an MVP type season. Then, the M’s would have to sign him for big bucks anyhow, or let him leave. And signing guys are trade bait just seems like the wrong approach.

    Since the M’s have a ton of cash to spend, it makes more sense to me to go out and get players that you can build a team around. I think that the best building-block type players are Beltre, Beltran, Renteria, and Drew. The more risky guys are Ordonez, Glaus, and Sexson. The former four are players that have the most potential to be playing well at the end of a 5-6 year contract. The latter three are guys who are young enough that, if they can put their injury problems behind them, could help the team for a few years.

    If the M’s go after Glaus, Ordonez, and/or Sexson, I would hope that they leave themselves options to retain them if they do play well. A one-year deal with an option year makes little sense, because they will potentially be gone before the M’s could reap the benefits of their skills when they get back into contention (when the will need it most). I would think that a two-year deal, with team options for the third and fourth years makes more sense. No long-term risk, but with the potential to keep them locked up if they do play well. You don’t want to be so careful signing guys that you end up loosing them if/when they do have some success. The whole idea of signing a high-risk/high-reward player at below market value is that you can reap the benefits if the player plays well.

    That said, I think that the M’s should just bite the bullet and sign Beltran AND Beltre. Even if they have to overpay. I know that it is wishful thinking, but the M’s could afford to go as high as 15 million/year for Beltran and 13 million/year for Beltre, and still have 9 million for a starting pitcher. Then, they can trade Winn and/or Franklin (packaged with a prospect if need be) for a reliever or for a young 1B player (Ryan Howard, Hee Seop Choi, Carlos Pena, Adrian Gonzales, ect). It would be a huge risk. But that would give them a core of players to build around for the future. Not just 2005.

  21. Jerry on September 22nd, 2004 5:09 pm


    I think that the teams that will go after Beltre the most are:

    -Chicago Sox

    Chicago and Boston are always in, but I don’t think that either will have a lot of free cash. Boston has talked about cutting payroll, and Chicago will most likely do some retooling/trading. I have heard that they want to get more athletic and speedy players. Same thing goes with LA, who have a ton of players going to free agency. They are in a very bad situation financially. The Phillies are also a dark-horse, as they don’t have much cash. Anahiem has the most money to spend this year besides the M’s, but they have Dallas McPhearson ready to come up. Lets just hope that he plays well. But I think that the Angels are the team with the best shot to sign him. They have 30 million to spend, and few players that they need to resign.

  22. RSJ on September 22nd, 2004 5:24 pm

    Word, thanks Dave.
    Boom boom

  23. LB on September 22nd, 2004 6:02 pm

    Boston has talked about reducing payroll since the day John Henry & Co. bought the team. It’s misinformation. It’s not going to happen in that market.

  24. Grant on September 22nd, 2004 6:44 pm

    Dave, what do you think about Leone, could he ever be a 30 HR hitter at the major league level? Could he be the solution for the Mariners @ 3B?

  25. chris on September 22nd, 2004 7:45 pm

    Jerry – Anaheim does not have a bunch of money to spend this off-season. Their owner just came out and said their payroll will be reduced to $90 million this off-season. Most of this decrease will come from Glaus and Appiers contracts falling off the books, however there is no way they are going after a big ticket offensive player. They love McPhearson.

  26. Dave on September 22nd, 2004 8:07 pm


    Leone could hit 30 HRs if given 550 at-bats, but he’d also make about 400 outs in the process. Leone’s a classic replacement level player, capable of hitting .240/.290/.450 for the league minimum, the kind of guy that makes signing mid-level players to multiyear contracts a waste. But he’s not the answer to any question the M’s should be asking, except perhaps “where do we find a cheap backup third baseman for 2005?”

  27. Jerry on September 22nd, 2004 8:15 pm


    I hope that you are right. I hope that Boston, Anahiem, and LA all reduce their payroll like people are saying.

    I think that the M’s are in a similar situation to Anahiem was a year ago: coming off a bad season, with a lot of payroll flexibility for two years. The Angels spent a lot of cash last year, perhaps planning to reduce it back down to 90ish in 2005. Who knows if they will follow through. The M’s could do the same thing if they really have some players they want to go after. If they go 5 million over their budget (to 100 mil), they could easily trim that cash off in 2006, when another 25 mil comes off the books.

  28. Dan on September 22nd, 2004 9:18 pm

    Boston can’t help but reduce their payroll. They wont be able to sign all the high price talent they currently have to new, higher priced contracts. Also, i’m fairly sure they said their high payroll this year would be a one time deal.

    Anahiem will likely let glaus go, and, unless they pick up a real SP, not spend any money in the offseason. The one thing they learned from all their injuries is they have a deep, deep bench. They still have a solid OF and a great defensive infield.

  29. brain on September 22nd, 2004 10:44 pm

    didn’t glaus go to usc?

  30. LB on September 23rd, 2004 12:03 am


    If you were Theo Epstein or John Henry, would you want every player agent in baseball to think that the candy store was open, or would you want them to think that the 2005 Sox payroll was coming down?

    2003 was also a “one time only” large payroll year for the Sox. (And come to think of it, they were only going to make one, just one, Star Trek movie. And then one, just one, sequel. And then, finally, the last Star Trek movie ever.)

  31. LB on September 23rd, 2004 12:08 am

    The Sox also will not sign all their high priced talent. David Ortiz and Trot Nixon signed for hometown discounts. Nomar is already gone. Derek Lowe will surely be gone, perhaps to Detroit or Baltimore. Pedro and Varitek are the only guys they might want to re-sign, and after watching Pedro spit the bit in big games this year, I wonder if he’s going to be with the Sox next year.

  32. Bela Txadus on September 23rd, 2004 5:49 am

    Thanks for the Glaus assessment, Dave. As to his matrix of probables, I’m with you: he hasn’t hit his high value from his first year again, most of his worth is in his power plus the defense at 3B he _isn’t_ playing at the moment, and he can expect to decline sharply in his early 30s, certainly by his mid-thirties. He put off surgery last year because ’04 was his walk year for the one big payout he could be sure of—and has gotten screwed ’cause he had to have the surgery anyway, but so late it’s wiped out most of this year. He will sign for the most years he can get wherever it is if he is properly advised, but it is difficult to see anyone fool enough to buy a black box for 3-at-8m-per _guaranteed._ Whoever signs him needs to look at the medical data and make their decision, but it is my assumption that his _hitting_ will at least be there—because it has mostly been there this year despite the fact that he is playing with an incompletely rehabed shoulder. Glaus is righthanded, but his power is the kind that will play well at Safeco, like Jacobsen: they are both massively strong guys who hit laser-like line drives off the back of the bullpen wall here. Edgar has been of a similar type; not as strong but basically a line drive hitter with a compact swing. The righthanders who suffer here are those like Cameron and Tejada, who uppercut the ball into that big, damp, cotton-like wad of air that rolls off the Duwamish over the leftfield wall and knocks down fly balls. What defensive position Glaus plays if signed I doubt anybody can tell at this point including the man himself: personally, I like him even at DH, because the reason to sign him is the stick.

    A one year deal hedges the team’s risk, sure, and supposing that Glaus would take it might be a fair bet. On the other hand: a) somebody will go one-and-option at least, so that’s surely the minimum unless _Glaus_ wants it at one (and if he does he’s nuts with his injury history), and b) if he has a great year, he simply has to be signed to a 3-at-8m+-per when he’s a year older.

    I think this one is where the Ms should do a creative contract structure, and simply stay on the phone with Bavasi working his old ties to the guy (drafted him, I believe) until a structure comes together. One and two successive options, modest buy outs which vest if he plays a solid number of defensive innings at [u-pick-position]. Something like that. Guaranteeing him the dough is too much risk, but properly structured the team is only risking a couple of million for the chance to lock him in _during the only remaining 3-4 years he is likely to remain productive_. I think anyone who works a front office with a 5-6 year horizon for the _25-man roster_ is a headcase. You have to think long-term with the minor leaguers and the 40-man, but it should be a 3-year horizon for the money team, period, and if you don’t win you’re fired.

    Everyone wants this team to get better for next year. Outside of Beltre (not coming), Beltran (not coming), and Drew (my priority A-1 for the offseason sign), Glaus has more potential to _radically_ impact the offense in a positive way. He’s much more proven than Bucky—and I _like_ Bucky. Glaus also needs to sign for the $$, not the company, more than anyone else, and can be gotten if the Ms decide to go get him. To me the ONLY reason not to give this one the full court press (to mix sports metaphors) is if the club decides to trade for a high-value prospect, not established player (too expensive) but prospect to play a position that Glaus would otherwise fill. If Anaheim was fool enough to part with MacPherson, he’s the man; they are not that stupid. They might be filched of Casey Kotchmann, who I dream to see play for the Ms, but the deal it would take to get this done seems beyond the capacities of B. Bavasi & Co. to conceive and execute, so. So Glaus isn’t a ‘5-year solution?’ The M’s have the cash and the spare parts to be back in the playoffs withing three years (if they execute, but let’s skip that), and Glaus would be on the roster THEN if so, and that is what this offseason’s signings should be all about, in my view.

    Glaus, YES!

    -Bela Txadux-

  33. Troy Sowden on September 23rd, 2004 7:34 am

    Brain, I’m almost positive Glaus went to UCLA. I have this picture of him in my mind playing for the Bruins for some reason. I don’t think Glaus is worth $8 mill next year unless we know he can play 3rd, which we don’t. As a 1B or DH his value drops to $6 mill at the most IMHO.

    Cap and Jerry, the big market teams I see making a serious run at Beltre are LA, Philadelphia, and Seattle, with the San Fran and Baltimore being the maybes. The Giants are an interesting possibility, as signing him could really stick it to their southern rivals, and it gives them a player to build around once Barry’s gone. Of course, they just exercised their 06 option on Barry, so it’s hard to say how much money they have available for the next couple of years. As a baseball fan, I’d love to see Beltre hitting behind Bonds and stop the walking insanity, but I’d much rather see him in Seattle. Baltimore is doubtful since they have Mora, but his glove’s awful at third, and he could easily be moved back to the outfield. Angelos is usually willing to throw money at big-name guys, even if it won’t make them a winner.

    Everybody else is either cutting payroll (Boston, Atlanta, ChiSox, Houston), has an established major league 3B who they have no need to replace (St. Louis, NYY, Texas, ChiCubs), or a young 3B that’s ready to bust loose (Mets, Anaheim).

    Two things could complicate the Beltre market. First, if the Marlins don’t get a stadium deal and Lowell leaves, that gives them $7.5 million to spend that they’d already allocated to next year’s budget. The have positional flexibility since Cabrera could slide back to 3rd, but that’s over half of what Beltre is projected to get, so I could easily see them jumping after him. If they’re smart they’ll let Cabrera play 3rd and use that money to keep Pavano since the rest of their staff can’t stay healthy, but who knows? Of course, with the Marlins they may just pocket that 7.5 ala the Sasaki money.

    The other thing that is more likely to complicate the Beltre race is a smaller market team that thinks he’ll get them over the hump, or just wants to make him their centerpiece like Detroit did with Pudge last year. I could see the Indians, Padres or even those Tigers being in that category, but probably not more than one of that.

    At the least, I think three teams go after him (LA, Seattle and Philly). At the most 5 or 6. It will be interesting.