Glaus undergoes physical in Toronto
If all goes well, deal should be official sometime Tuesday
PHOENIX -- The Blue Jays and Diamondbacks are expected to announce Tuesday they have completed a deal that would send third baseman Troy Glaus and prospect Sergio Santos to Toronto and pitcher Miguel Batista and second baseman Orlando Hudson to Arizona.
The two teams reached an agreement on the deal last Thursday, but the holiday weekend delayed the medical clearance part of the transaction. It's possible the trade won't be announced until late in the day Tuesday with some players yet to have theirs completed as of Monday night. Glaus was in Toronto on Monday for his physical and is expected to remain there for the news conference.
In Glaus, the Blue Jays are getting a powerful bat. The 29-year-old, who signed a four-year, $45 million contract prior to last season, hit 37 homers and drove in 97 runs despite being dogged throughout the year with a strained tendon behind his left knee. He took three cortisone shots to help alleviate the problem, but Arizona team physician Michael Lee said at the time only 4-6 weeks of rest would help.
With the Diamondbacks in the hunt for the top spot in the National League West, Glaus continued to play throughout the season before resting the knee in October. When the Diamondbacks signed Glaus, there was some concern about his right shoulder. A partial tear in his rotator cuff limited his playing time in 2003 and 2004, but did not cause any problems for him in 2005.
The 37 homers was the second highest among big league third basemen last year behind only Alex Rodriguez, who hit 48. It marked the fourth time in Glaus' career that he's hit 30 or more homers.
The Diamondbacks had recently looked to deal Glaus to help alleviate a logjam at the corner infield and outfield positions. With Glaus' departure, Chad Tracy is expected to move back to third base with Shawn Green returning to right field. That opens up a spot for Conor Jackson, one of the club's top prospects, at first base.
Glaus' limited no-trade clause included Toronto, but the slugger agreed to waive it.
"The reason they went on the list from the get-go was the (artificial) turf playing surface," Glaus' agent Mike Nicotera said. "It was never the organization or the city. It was simply the playing surface."
The Blue Jays replaced their artificial turf with FieldTurf prior to last season, which plays more like real grass and is reportedly easier on the joints. Glaus spoke with Toronto GM J.P. Riccardi about the surface and reached out to players who have played on it, and what he heard convinced him that it was no longer an issue.
"It wasn't the old hard turf that he remembered when he played there," Nicotera said, referring to when Glaus was with the Angels.
Glaus' wife, Ann, is an accomplished equestrian and the couple had moved to Phoenix from Southern California prior to last season for what they thought would be at least four years. It's believed that Glaus got at least some no-trade protection from the Blue Jays so that he and Ann would not have to relocate yet again.
The fact the Blue Jays have been actively improving their team over the offseason certainly helped.
"He's also going there because he believes they can win a World Series," Nicotera said. "He went to Arizona because he thought they could win as well -- and they took a large step in the right direction last year -- but it became pretty apparent to us that their plans moving forward didn't include him. There's no ill will towards them. You look forward, and Troy's looking forward to playing in Toronto."
Hudson won a Gold Glove last year, leading American League second sackers in range factor (5.84) and fielding percentage (.991). The 28-year-old hit .271 with 25 doubles, five triples, 10 homers and 63 RBIs. He was expendable thanks to the presence of Aaron Hill.
With the money saved in the deal -- Hudson made $365,000 last year and is salary arbitration eligible while Batista will make $4.75 million in the final year of his deal -- the Diamondbacks have the flexibility to add some salary if they choose, either by signing a free agent or via a trade.
Craig Counsell will move to shortstop to start the season and gives Arizona a valuable trading chip in infielder Alex Cintron, who could be dealt to help the team fill its hole in center field or add depth to its pitching staff. Counsell would likely move to a super utility role when top prospect Stephen Drew is deemed ready to play in the Majors.
Batista is no stranger to the Diamondbacks, having played for them from 2001 through 2003 before signing with the Jays as a free agent. The versatile right-hander spent time both as a starter and reliever during his stint in the desert, and originally was a starter in Toronto before becoming the club's closer last year.
The 34-year-old saved 31 games for Toronto last year in 39 opportunities. It was a tale of two halves for him, as he converted 15 of his first 17 chances and had a 2.97 ERA in the first half and converted just 16 of 22 in the second half with a 5.35 ERA. His best season in Arizona came in 2001, when he was 11-8 with a 3.36 ERA for the World Series champs.
With Jose Valverde entrenched as the club's closer, the Diamondbacks will use Batista as a starter. He joins a rotation that also includes newly acquired Orlando Hernandez, plus holdovers Brandon Webb and Brad Halsey.
Santos, who just two years ago was ranked by Baseball America as the organization's top prospect, was drafted out of high school by the Diamondbacks with their first pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. The 22-year-old had a steady rise through the system before stumbling a bit last year for Triple-A Tucson, where he hit just .239 with 12 homers and 68 RBIs.
At 6-foot-2, 239 pounds, Santos is big for a shortstop, which has prompted speculation that he would eventually need to switch, but the Diamondbacks were impressed with the way he played at short. He became expendable, however, when the club drafted shortstops with its first-round pick in each of the past two drafts. Drew, selected in 2004, is thought to be just about ready for the big leagues, and the team drafted high school shortstop Justin Upton with the No. 1 overall pick last year. Upton has yet to sign, but the D-Backs are optimistic they will reach a deal with him.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.