10/30/2004 10:17 PM ET
Angels part ways with Glaus
McPherson to get shot, freeing up cash for free agents
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Angels general manager Bill Stoneman confirmed on Saturday that the Angels will not re-sign free agent Troy Glaus, thereby cutting ties with the 28-year-old slugging third baseman who was the Most Valuable Player of their only World Series championship team.
The Angels will look to rookie Dallas McPherson, a power-hitting phenom recently named the best player in all of minor league baseball, and will use the money saved on what would have likely been a huge deal for Glaus to go after at least one starting pitcher and a center fielder.
Stoneman also said Robb Quinlan is an option at third next year. Quinlan hit .344 in 56 games last year before tearing an oblique muscle in August.
"We've got some things to do, things we're going to try to do to make us better for '05, and Troy Glaus is going to end up getting a pretty good contract," Stoneman said.
"For the dollars we would spend on Troy, whatever they might be, to be our third baseman, those dollars would not be available to spend in some other areas. And we've got some other areas.
"Plus, when a guy's ready for the Major Leagues, you give him the opportunity," Stoneman said of McPherson, who hit 40 homers in the minors in 2004, then hit .225 with three homers in 40 at-bats and struck out 17 times after he was called up late in the season. On Tuesday, McPherson was named the winner of the 45th annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award as the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year.
"That's what's held the Angels in good stead," Stoneman added. "Six years ago, somebody made room for Troy Glaus. Same with Darin Erstad, Tim Salmon and Troy Percival. The healthy way to handle it is that you give good players room to play when they're ready for the Major Leagues."
Glaus, a three-time All-Star, is believed to be looking for a deal similar to the one signed by Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez, who re-upped with the A's during Spring Training for six years and $66 million.
By avoiding that type of financial commitment, the Angels could be in a good position to go after Houston center fielder Carlos Beltran, considered by most experts to be the top available free agent, or another free agent outfielder such as Atlanta's J.D. Drew or the Dodgers' Steve Finley.
The Angels could have as much as $40 million in payroll freed up because of the expiration of the contracts of Glaus and pitchers Aaron Sele, Kevin Appier, Ramon Ortiz and Percival.
Stoneman also said Saturday that the plan is to move Garret Anderson back from center field to left, which likely means the team will look to trade its 2004 left fielder, Jose Guillen, who was suspended for the final two weeks of the season and the postseason after an on-field temper tantrum and subsequent clubhouse quarrel with manager Mike Scioscia.
Also, the Angels could pursue one of a long list of quality free agent starters, potentially including Odalis Perez, Eric Milton, Russ Ortiz, Brad Radke and Pedro Martinez.
"We've got a lot of things to look at," Stoneman said. "I know we spent a lot of money last winter. I anticipate that the payroll won't be as high as last year's payroll. We'll still field a real good club."
It remains to be seen if the Angels can be better without Glaus, whose 47 home runs in 2000 are a team record for a single season and who hit 41 homers in 2001 and 30 in 2002, when he hit .385 with three homers and seven RBIs in the World Series win over San Francisco. But then health problems crept up.
Glaus missed large portions of the last two campaigns because of a fraying of the labrum and rotator cuff in his right (throwing) shoulder. In 2004, after hitting 11 homers in 28 games, he elected to halt his season in late May for surgery, pledging to be back by September to help the team down the stretch.
Glaus returned earlier than expected, in late August, and hit seven homers in September and two in the playoffs, but he was able to play only as a designated hitter.
Glaus' agent, Mike Nicotera, said Saturday that Glaus will be ready to play third base again next year.
"He's healthy, he's stronger than he's ever been, and he's frankly a better player than he's ever been," Nicotera said.
"There was no specific dollars or years discussed [with Stoneman]. At the end, it was a situation where he was going to make a move that way and we're going to go our way."
Stoneman was quick to mention that McPherson is under the Angels' control and will not be eligible for arbitration for the next three years. That means he'll command only somewhere around the $300,000 minimum salary for the near future.
"We're very fortunate to have a guy ready to go, and he's not going to be expensive for a few years," Stoneman said.
But he admitted that it will be tough to see Glaus go.
"The last few years, injuries got in the way, but people have to realize he wasn't just a World Series MVP in '02," Stoneman said.
"He had a real solid season and was a huge contributor to that team. And he's been a force in our lineup for six years. I don't want to put pressure on McPherson or Quinlan, but certainly Troy's had a number of good years for us."
And that, Stoneman said, made it difficult to say goodbye.
"The series of decisions that we have to make to make the club as good as we can for our fans -- sometimes they're tough," Stoneman said. I'm sure there will be some people who understand this decision and some people who don't.
"This is a business of ongoing difficult decisions."
|The Angels believe phenom Dallas McPherson is ready to take over at third base. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.