(Updated: 8:50 p.m.)
As someone who has taken his share of shots at Troy Glaus — like here and also here and maybe here — it’s only fair that I give credit to the Braves’ outgoing first baseman for something when it’s warranted.
When the Braves acquired Derrek Lee from the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, it would have been very easy for Glaus to throw a fit about the trade.
He could have told the Braves, “Just release me,” and they probably would have obliged. He could have publicly complained about going on the disabled and certainly about being sent to the minor leagues. Because folks, there’s a decent chance that Glaus, the Braves’ most important player over a six-week period in May and June, very well may have had his final significant at-bat in Atlanta.
But Glaus didn’t do that. He didn’t squawk. He acknowledged (in actions, if not words) that his knees are a major issue right now and agreed to go on the DL. For a guy who has made close to $80 million in his career and presumably doesn’t need the money, he’s also clearly determined to prove to doubters — maybe less to the Braves than all the other teams, as he looks ahead to this winter — that he is not finished and can still play third base (his preferred position).
A sampling of Glaus’s comments:
♦ “I’ll go down [to Gwinnett], play third and hopefully come back here and do that for this team.”
♦ “Obviously I don’t want to go on the DL, but at this time if we can get a little healthier, coming back in September [we can] make a good run at the end.”
♦ “I obviously don’t harbor any ill will. It’s something that made our team better. Hopefully I can come back in 15 days and be the third baseman and make us even better than that.”
The plan, as outlined by general manager Frank Wren, is for Glaus to rest for a week and then try to play some games at third for the G-Braves. Wren indicated then Glaus could be recalled when rosters expand Sept. 1.
But understand something: This ensures nothing for Glaus, as it pertains to this Braves’ season. He might get some at-bats off the bench and he conceivably could get a spot start. But playing time is not guaranteed, particularly during a pennant stretch, and there certainly are no assurances that he would be on the postseason roster if the Braves make the playoffs.
Glaus could have asked out and he chose not to. For that, he showed a lot more class and professionalism than many — if not most — in his position would.
Finally, credit to Wren for the way he handled this delicate matter. When he spoke of the Lee trade before Wednesday’s game, he made a point to first say that the deal would not have been possible without Glaus because it was he who helped put the Braves in this position for a trade in a pennant stretch. It was as nice a way as possible for a general manager to soften the blow.
Lee doesn’t come with any assurances, either. It’s never a good sign when somebody requires an epidural for a bulging disc in his back, even if that same player had just hit four home runs over three days. But it’s an inexpensive gamble by Wren — three low-level minor league prospects and some salary — and one that could wind up paying huge dividends.
Kudos all around.
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