Free agency on a budget: Troy Glaus

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Struggles returning from offseason shoulder surgery followed by back problems left Troy Glaus on the sidelines until September and he played just 14 games overall this season, basically making 2009 a lost year for the four-time All-Star.
His health remains a huge question mark, but Glaus batted .270/.372/.483 with 27 homers in 151 games for the Cardinals as recently as last year to top an .800 OPS in a ninth straight season. For the 2000s he leads all MLB third baseman with 274 homers and ranks third in adjusted OPS+ behind only Chipper Jones and David Wright.
Glaus’ ability to play third base is certainly in doubt, because in addition to the shoulder problems he’s 33 years old, stands 6-foot-5, and weighs around 250 pounds. However, he was originally a shortstop and his defense has graded out reasonably well at the hot corner, with Ultimate Zone Rating pegging his glove as a positive there in both 2007 and 2008. Plus, if needed his bat is certainly potent enough to remain at asset at first base or even designated hitter.
In terms of risk versus reward Glaus likely has the highest upside of any free agent third baseman, because his value and price tag have never been lower and if healthy he’s an elite right-handed power hitter with good plate discipline and a decent glove.

David Wright isn’t ready to retire

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There’s no doubt that the last three years have put David Wright through the ringer. The Mets third baseman missed the bulk of his 2015 season with spinal stenosis and made it through a month of games in 2016 before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. In 2017, a bout of shoulder impingement, rotator cuff surgery and a laminotomy procedure on his lower back kept him off the field for all 162 games.

Despite the continual setbacks, Wright told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, he doesn’t believe retirement is in the cards for him this year. “When the end comes, the end comes,” he said Friday. “Hopefully, I’ve got a little more left. But I guess that’s to be determined.”

The 35-year-old last appeared for High-A St. Lucie in 2017, powering through three games with one hit and five strikeouts in 10 plate appearances. His career has advanced in fits and starts since 2015, but you don’t have to do too much digging to find his last great performance with the Mets. Wright earned his seventh career All-Star berth in 2013, slashing .307/.390/.514 with 18 home runs and a terrific 6.0 fWAR in 492 PA. While he isn’t expected to mash at those levels in the near future, if ever again, the Mets believe the veteran third baseman might still have something left in the tank as he tries to extend a 13-year run in the majors.

Per DiComo, the only thing standing in his way is a clean bill of health — not just for the upcoming season, but for the years to come. Wright said he wouldn’t risk returning to the field if it came with long-term implications for his quality of life.

The surgeries are obviously serious stuff, but it just kind of plays with your mind mentally, where you don’t know how your body’s going to hold up,” Wright said. “You don’t know how you’re going to feel a month from now. You don’t know how you’re going to feel a couple weeks from now. You’re hoping that it continues to get better, but you just don’t know.

Given the uncertainty that surrounds his return to the game, it’s a prudent outlook to have.