Yesterday, out of the blue, we learned that Troy Glaus underwent surgery to repair a torn muscle near his right shoulder and could miss 5 weeks or more of the season. That sucks and certainly calls into question “why now?”, but there’s not much that can be done about it now. So can the Cards weather this? I think so.
First of all, let me say there’s not a good enough reason to bring up Brett Wallace right now. If there were no other viable 3B options in house, then maybe, but there’s no reason to start the Walrus’s service time unless you plan on keeping him up in the big leagues for good. Let the big guy work on his defense in the minors where it doesn’t matter and then install him permanently as the regular 3B next season after Glaus walks.
That brings us to David Freese. Why? Because he has little left to prove in AAA and will turn 26 early in the season. He’s an able defender and a decent hitter. Freese’s CHONE projection calls for a .335 wOBA, a far cry from Glaus’ .372, but it’s respectable enough. I knocked down Glaus’ plate appearances to 500 and give 155 of them to Freese and it knocks the team off 3 runs. I also knocked Glaus’ projected .372 wOBA to .365, considering he may start slow coming back. You can see the results here.
The short of it is the Cardinals as they stood before this news had 88 win talent. Minus some Glaus, plus some Freese, the result is 87.4 wins. In other words, if Freese does play and plays as projected it costs the Cardinals only 6 runs. Not good, but certainly bearable.
Now if La Russa mismanages the roster (and he very well could, knowing Tony) and plays a lot of Brendan Ryan at 3B, that could cost the Cardinals another 4-6 runs. Here’s hoping Freese has a strong showing in spring training and that he lives up to his prospect billing as a Cardinal rookie.
The bottom line is having Glaus out of the lineup for a month isn’t going to break the season. Barring a big move, the season right isn’t riding on Troy’s health so much as it is on Carpenter’s.