Replacing Troy Glaus With Dallas McPherson

Seemed like a good idea at the time . . .

The whispers started even before the end of the 2004 season: the Angels had given up on one of their mainstays, third baseman Troy Glaus. They were going to replace him with a young, talented prospect named Dallas McPherson. These things happen in professional sports. Although Glaus averaged 36 home runs a season between 1999 and 2002 (the year the Angels won the World Series and Glaus was named Most Valuable Player), and although he was an exceptional defensive player (he played shortstop at UCLA), and although he was only 28 years old, he kept getting hurt. Glaus played in only 149 games combined during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He insisted he would return to form with rest and rehab but the Angels were dubious and then—luck of all luck—they found Glaus' clone in their minor league system. McPherson was big like Glaus—6'4"/ 230 pounds to Glaus' 6'5"/ 240 pounds—plus he hit for power and they wouldn't have to pay him nearly as much. So while Glaus lingered on the disabled list, we got express daily reports of McPherson's exploits in the minors—when he was called up to the Angels for the final month in 2004, McPherson had driven in 57 runs in 67 games at their Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City. By the end of that season the Angels were convinced it was time for a change; they let Glaus go to the Arizona Diamondbacks and installed McPherson at third base. Almost immediately the hope that they had found another, younger Glaus in McPherson was confirmed. Unfortunately the Glaus that McPherson reincarnated was the one who missed a lot of games. A lot more than Glaus, actually. McPherson played in only 101 games during the next two seasons. His playing time was limited by a whole host of injuries: bone spur in his left hip, herniated disk in his lower back, back spasms, oblique strain and, yes, skin rash. In his limited service McPherson has hit a total of 15 home runs. And Glaus? Well, after playing just 149 games the previous two seasons he played 149 in 2005 for Arizona, hitting 37 homers with 97 RBIs. The Diamondbacks, who—stop me if you've heard this—believed they had a younger version of Glaus in a guy named Chad Tracy, then traded Glaus to the Toronto Blue Jays for the 2006 season. All he did there was drive in 104 runs and rank sixth in the American League with 38 homers. Chad Tracy's 20 homers were a little better than half of that. Meanwhile, back in Anaheim the Angels' once-mighty offense was reduced to Vladimir Guerrero and a bunch of guys making the sign of the cross. Manager Mike Scioscia experimented with a parade of players at third base before he settled on something called a Maicer Izturis, who committed 13 errors in 87 games at the position and hit only five home runs all season. Despite their inability to score a lot of runs, the Angels finished second in the American League West Division a mere four games out of a playoff spot. And what is one of the club's top priorities during the off-season? Acquiring a big, dependable, power-hitting, slick fielding third baseman to replace Troy Glaus—someone who looks a lot like Dallas McPherson but, you know, without the skin rash.

 
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