Third baseman says shoulder is fine
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks moved quickly to get a right-handed power hitter with their first free-agent signing in what they promise will be a busy offseason.
Third baseman Troy Glaus, a three-time All-Star with Anaheim and MVP of the 2002 World Series but slowed by a shoulder injury the past two seasons, agreed Thursday to a four-year, $45 million contract.
The deal includes a signing bonus of $4 million, with annual salaries of $8 million, $9 million, $10.5 million and $12.5 million. The contract also provides Glaus a hotel suite on all road trips and $250,000 reimbursement per year for personal business expenses.
Glaus is supposed to fill the void left by Richie Sexson, who almost certainly won't re-sign with Arizona.
"He's a cornerstone player," general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said of Glaus. "What he brings is one of the issues we felt we needed to address. Now we've done that and I'm confident in saying there will be more to come."
Glaus, 28, hit .284 with an American League-leading 47 home runs in 2000, followed by 41 homers in 2001 and 30 in the Angels' World Series championship season of 2002. In Anaheim's seven-game World Series triumph over San Francisco, he hit .385 with three home runs and eight RBI.
He played in only 91 games in 2003 because of the shoulder problems and then appeared in 29 this season before undergoing arthroscopic surgery.
Glaus returned in late August and hit seven of his 18 home runs in the final month of the season to help the Angels to the division title.
The contract has no protective medical clause, but Glaus underwent a medical exam that, he said, was the most thorough he had experienced.
"It's healed. It's fixed," Glaus said at a news conference in the Diamondbacks' clubhouse. "Now it's just a matter of time in the throwing program and thing's like that, and I'll be ready for spring without any doubt."
Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick called the signing "the first day of the new Diamondbacks" and promised more moves in the future for a team coming off one of the worst seasons in baseball history.
"We have told you over the last couple of months repeatedly that our intent is not to rebuild but to reload," Kendrick said. "We are reloading. We told you that our intent is to be competitive, and we're going to be. Troy is going to be a cornerstone player for us."
Several teams courted Glaus, including Detroit and Seattle. Glaus said he was convinced by Diamondbacks officials that they are serious about an immediate turnaround.
"I didn't come here to lose," Glaus said. "I've won at every level I've played at. We won in the big leagues. I didn't come here to be in that 95-, 100-loss area. If I believed that was the case, then I wouldn't be sitting here right now."
Among the players the Diamondbacks are pursuing is pitcher Russ Ortiz. Still to be determined is the fate of Randy Johnson, who has said he would like to go to a contender for the coming season and is not convinced the Diamondbacks can be one. The New York Yankees have dropped out of talks for now, saying Arizona's demands for the Big Unit are too steep.
Arizona went 51-111 last season, just three years after winning the World Series. The Diamondbacks tied for the 10th-most losses in major-league history.
Glaus will provide some protection in the batting order for left-handed hitter Luis Gonzalez.
New Arizona manager Bob Melvin was fired after two seasons with Seattle, one of Anaheim's AL West foes, so he is familiar with Glaus.
"A right-handed hitter to hit behind Gonzo that's got power and also is a good defensive player," Melvin said. "We wanted to make sure we got a signing like this, and then we start to look where the other pieces of the puzzle start to fall."
Glaus' arrival means a position switch for Chad Tracy, if he remains with the team. Tracy played third last season as a rookie, batting .285 but committing a team-high 25 errors.
Kendrick knows there is widespread skepticism that the team can be a contender after such a disastrous 2004 season.
"Probably the reason that they're skeptical is they don't know what we're doing," Kendrick said. "Maybe when they begin to see announcements like this the skepticism might change. Actually, it's kind of fun to be under the radar."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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