Saturday, February 21, 2009

Giving Crede-it Where Crede-it Is Due

The Common Man was supposed to be heading back to the homeland today, driving at a safe, but breakneck pace on the highways and byways of this great country. Unfortunately, he, The Uncommon Wife, and The Boy forgot to check their plans with mother nature, who dumped a mess of snow in between them and their destination. And that's why The Common Man was out shoveling today, and why he's resting on the couch now, nursing a sore back. Damn you snowplows and your incessent plowing that dumps an extra ton of snow on the end of The Common Man's driveway.

It's also the reason The Common Man got to read about the Twins signing former White Sox 3B Joe Crede today for a bargain basement contract. Since Corey Koskie left in 2004, third base has been a revolving door of disappointment. Michael Cuddyer, Terry Tiffee, Luis Rodriguez, Juan Castro, Glenn Williams, Nick Punto, Tony Batista, Brian Buscher, Jeff Cirillo, Tommy Watkins, Mike Lamb, Brendan Harris, Matt Tolbert, Matt Macri, Howie Clark, and one game of Michael Ryan. Crede doesn't figure to be anything more than a one year solution, but Minnesota 3B have hit .260/.318/.372 since Koskie left town and Crede (provided he's healthy) should easily eclipse that. And he provides Gold Glove caliber defense to boot.

Now, about his health. Crede has been suffering from a chronic back problem for much of his career, and has eclipsed 500 plate appearances only three times in the past six seasons. It's likely he may have trouble this year as well. That said, his contract is structured to pay just $2.5 million in base salary, with playing-time incentives that could push the contract to $7 million, and the Twins will have a potentially productive Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris platoon as a fallback position (by the way, if Crede plays enough to reaach his incentives, The Common Man predicts an excellent season for the Twins this year, perhaps another division title).

In the meantime, Crede's signing gives the Twins some additional roster flexibility (as they won't have to carry two primary 3B), added power, and a big upgrade on defense. It also, however, adds to the team's lack of patience, a glaring problem for the past several seasons. And if the Twins fade from contention early, Crede's contract should be easily tradable at the deadline. For now, the Twins' acquisition of Crede means that they have to clear some roster space. If the rumored deal for Juan Cruz is really happening, the Twins could send one or more of their young pitchers (especially those out of options like Bonser or Humber) to Arizona in a sign-and-trade.

It's a good deal, an acceptable risk, a welcome change from the Twins usual veteran acquisitions (Livan Hernandez, Juan Castro, Tony Batista, Rondell White, Sidney Ponson, and Ramon Ortiz), in that Crede represents a player with a realistic upside.

4 comments:

BillP said...

Good deal and everything, I just think it's a bad sign. Buscher and Harris would've done just fine, and a smarter GM would've focused on improving at shortstop instead. Billy Smith appears to be just as dumb about free agents as Terry Ryan was, and it remains to be seen whether he has the aptitude for scouting and development that made Ryan a pretty good GM nonetheless.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

I think a great defensive 3b with the range of Crede instantly gives you a better shortstop because he doesn't have to get to as many balls.

But, I'm a little skeptical about Crede and his back. But for $3M, it's not a bad deal for what he could provide.

Zach Sanders said...

Hey T-C-M,

I couldn't find an email listed for you, so I figured I would post it here.

Would you be interested in joining a Baseball Bloggers Fantasy League that MLB Notebook is hosting? Draft date is March 22 (Sunday), at 6:45 pm EST.

If you have questions, let me know by sending me an email (zach@mlbnotebook.com)

Thanks,
Zach Sanders

BikeMonkey said...

Pete Rose on a-rod and TCM is silent? Hmmm...