The Braves' signing of Troy Glaus to be their starting first baseman in 2010 polarized the fanbase. One camp looked at his injury-plagued 2009 season and figured that Glaus was unlikely to remain healthy enough to provide enough value for a first baseman. The other figured that, based on his extensive track record, Glaus could potentially provide excellent power at a bargain price.
In the end, both camps were partially right. The optimists were vindicated by Glaus' torrid stretch from May (when he was named the NL Player of the Month) through late June. In this two-month span, Glaus carried the Braves as they erased a large division deficit and built up a small but consistent lead. He even played perfectly adequate defense during this stretch. Everyone had forgotten about his dismal April; some were even touting Glaus as an MVP candidate.
Unfortunately for Braves fans, the pessimists were vindicated as well. Sometime in June, the nagging injuries to Glaus' back and legs started adding up to a decrease in production. He did manage to walk often enough to somewhat offset his subpar batting average, but the injuries sapped nearly all of his power. In addition, he lost what little defensive mobility he once had, to the point where he resembled a knight wearing a full suit of invisible armor at first base.
To his credit, Glaus didn't complain. He gamely kept trotting out every day and put forth his best effort. As his July slump stretched into August, however, it became clear to everyone--even, finally, to Bobby Cox--that Glaus was no longer physically able to be a major league first baseman. He was mercifully disabled on August 18th, and played only sparingly after that.
Glaus did have one final moment in the spotlight. In game 2 of the Division Series, he was forced into duty at third base, a position he had barely played in 2010. With the bases loaded and one out in the 10th inning--in other words, with the Giants just a fly ball away from a 2-0 series lead--Buster Posey hid a bouncer to third. Glaus made a gutsy call, starting a 5-4-3 double play that extended the game to the 11th inning. The Braves would go on to win on Rick Ankiel's home run, but it was the hobbled Glaus who made it all possible.
In the end, Glaus' season statistics are nothing spectacular; indeed, they are below-average for a first baseman. But just looking at the year-end totals does not do justice to the highs and lows of Troy Glaus in 2010. He was both a hero and a goat; both the savior of the Braves' hopes and a prime cause of their downfall.
Glaus is a free agent now; he will almost certainly sign somewhere else for 2011. This post, therefore, is basically his Braves epitaph. Let it show that Glaus was a great team player who played as big a role as anyone in the Braves' turnaround following the nine-game losing streak. With Freddie Freeman in the fold, there's little chance that Braves fans will miss Troy Glaus going forward, but we can still appreciate his effort (even if, in the second half, the effort was mostly in vain).