If many of us were given a word association game concerning Troy Glaus and the shrink asked us the first words that popped into our head when mentioning Glaus, our answers would probably be something like: "Mitchell Report," "Washed up," "Is he still playing?" His first month of the season with the Braves, as unlikely as it seemed that they had signed him, did little to change all those first reactions. He hit below the Mendoza Line for the month of April. Since then? Now our reactions to that word association game would be, "What the heck is going on there?"
Indeed. What is going on there? The Braves signed him this year for $1.75 million. He can make another $500,000 in incentive clauses. Even if the season ended tomorrow, the Braves got the steal of the year. This is just one year after missing almost all of 2009 with a shoulder injury that seemed in light of his Mitchell Report standing, to figure his career was over. It was even a surprise that Glaus would take that kind of money after making over $10 million a year over his past four years. But, you see, that's the trouble with making blanket judgements based on cynicism. Apparently, Troy Glaus still has a strong desire to play baseball and to play it well. And is he ever playing well!
Glaus leads the National League in RBIs with 55. He hit his 14th homer of the season on Saturday night to help beat Zack Greinke and the Royals. Going into that game, he had a 131 OPS+. If the season ended tomorrow for Glaus, the Braves would still be way ahead on the deal. His play to date has already been valued by FanGraphs.com at $4.5 million for the season. If it wasn't for his defense, it would be even higher. But what is pretty much unappreciated concerning the year he is having is that his numbers are really nothing new for any year that Glaus has played in his career when he has been healthy.
Most people wouldn't guess that Troy Glaus has a 121 lifetime OPS+. Take away his two injury-plagued seasons (2007, 2009) and it would be higher. Glaus has been an All Star four times. He was the 2002 World Series MVP. He hit 38 homers for the Blue Jays in 2006 well after drug testing was implemented. Just two years ago, he hit 27 homers and drove in 99 while compiling a 124 OPS+.
So when it all boils down to it, none of us should be surprised about the season is having, but we all are. Aren't we?