It is okay to admit it—you saw that the Atlanta Braves added Troy Glaus to the roster this off-season, and you discounted it. You considered him washed-up, old, and overrated to begin with. I know I did.
In my 2010 Atlanta Braves Spring Preview, I labeled Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus, and Eric Hinske the “Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear of over-the-hill third basemen,” and commented that using the trio as a platoon at both third base and first base could either be very effective or “a hilarious failure.”
Troy Glaus is probably okay with having been discounted by baseball fans this off-season—because it isn’t the first time it has happened to him.
The American League homerun king at the age of 23 with 47 bombs in 2000, Glaus already looked washed up by the age of 27, missing more than 170 games over two years in what should have been his prime from 2003 to 2004.
It was after playing in only 58 games with the Anaheim Angels in ’04 that Glaus first came to the National League and had an immediate impact—37 homeruns, 97 RBI and an .885 OPS for second place (albeit 77-85) Arizona Diamondbacks team.
Apparently unconvinced that Glaus could be a full-timer again, Arizona quickly cut bait, shipping Glaus to Toronto in exchange for Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista. In Toronto, Glaus essentially matched what he had done in Arizona—38 homeruns, 104 RBI and 105 runs with an .868 OPS.
Injuries sidelined Glaus again in 2007, and in January 2008, the Blue Jays and Cardinals exchanged washed up third basemen with Toronto sending Glaus to St. Louis in exchange for Scott Rolen. In St. Louis, Glaus once again proved that, when healthy, he could still hit—he had 27 homeruns, 99 RBI, and an .856 OPS.
Unfortunately, Glaus missed all but 14 games in 2009, which led to his joining the Atlanta Braves this season in an effort to prove at age 33 what he had to prove at age 26—that he could be healthy all season and be a positive contributor on offense.
Thus far, he has done just that. After Tuesday night’s victory over the Phillies—which gives Atlanta a game-and-a-half lead in the NL East—Glaus is now second on the Braves in homeruns with nine and first on the Braves in RBI with 40; over a full season, this translates out to approximately 27 homeruns and 120 RBI.
Not bad for a guy who has been “washed up” for much of the last five years.
The question going forward for Troy Glaus is this: is Troy Glaus still a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate? As discussed in a previous article, I have broken the Future Hall of Famer question into three sub-questions.
1) Would Troy Glaus be a Hall of Famer if his career ended today?
The answer to this question is clearly “no.” His numbers are inadequate all the way around.
2) Would Troy Glaus be a Hall of Famer if he continued on his expected trajectory?
This is a closer question. Glaus currently ranks 12th amongst third basemen in homeruns (though he is really playing first base for the Braves this season) with 312. Ahead of him on this list, however, is an assortment of non-Hall of Famers: Ron Cey, Vinny Castilla, Gary Gaetti, Matt Williams, Graig Nettles and Darrell Evans.
Suffice it to say that if Glaus were to play four more seasons and finish with somewhere between 380 and 400 homeruns, he would remain a tough case for the Hall. Indeed, he would probably be this generation’s Graig Nettles.
3) If Troy Glaus held on long enough to reach some career milestones that don’t currently seem attainable, would he be a Hall of Famer?
Glaus is currently 33 years old. What if he defied the odds and played until he was 40 years old? That is seven more years. What if he were to average 20 homeruns per year for seven more years? That would bring his career total to about 450 homeruns.
Now tell me—does a career third baseman/first baseman with 450 career homeruns get into the Hall of Fame?
That’s a very good question.
It’s okay to say “no”—Glaus has been doubted before, and he’s come through time and time again.
He’s used to it by now.