Glaus upgrades Jays' lineup

Originally Published: December 28, 2005

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Jerry Crasnick

for Blue Jays for Diamondbacks

The Move: Toronto acquires third baseman Troy Glaus and minor-league infielder Sergio Santos from Arizona in exchange for pitcher Miguel Batista and second baseman Orlando Hudson.

Upside for Blue Jays: Toronto ranked fifth in the American League in runs scored last season, but the Jays frequently had to cobble together rallies despite playing in a park where the ball flies. Outfielder Vernon Wells was the only Jay to surpass 20 homers, and manager John Gibbons' club finished tied for 11th in the AL with a .407 slugging percentage. Glaus instantly changes the look of the middle of Toronto's order.

Downside for Blue Jays: Glaus is a defensive liability and a perennial candidate to strike out 150-plus times in 550 at-bats. Of his 37 homers last season, 26 came in hitter-friendly parks in Phoenix and Denver, so he might not be quite as scary as he used to be. The Blue Jays will miss Hudson's defensive range at second base, and they're so overloaded with corner men that general manager J.P. Ricciardi will have to hustle to find a new home for Shea Hillenbrand or Eric Hinske.

Upside for Diamondbacks: Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes was dealing from a position of strength, so Glaus' departure creates a welcome opportunity for some young players at the corners. Chad Tracy slides in at third base, and Conor Jackson will share time at first base with Tony Clark. Hudson's range at second should be particularly welcome news to sinkerballer Brandon Webb, baseball's premier groundball-throwing machine. Santos, a former first-round pick, hit .239 for Triple-A Tucson last year and no longer fit into the D-Backs' plans with the rise of Stephen Drew through the Arizona system.

Downside for Diamondbacks: Arizona traded a bona-fide slugger and didn't really acquire an impact player in return. Batista is a No. 4-5 starter on a good staff, and Hudson, while a defensive whiz, is not a classic top-of-the-order hitter. He had a .315 on-base percentage last season, and he stole only 19 bases in 28 attempts in four seasons with Toronto.

Big Picture: You can question the wisdom of Ricciardi's offseason maneuvers, but the Blue Jays should be a fun team to watch in 2006. With the acquisition of Glaus, Lyle Overbay, A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan, they might have moved ahead of the relatively stagnant Red Sox as the biggest threat to New York in the AL East.

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