Greetings loyal SethSpeaks readers! My name is Brandon Warne, and I hope to be a regular contributor here on Seth’s blog going forward. To give you a little background information on me, I’m a soon-to-be 23 year old Northwestern College journalism major who lives in Plymouth, but lists his hometown as Roseau, MN. Sharp SethSpeaks readers will recall Seth lived in Warroad for quite some time, which is my high school’s biggest rival and a mere 20 miles further on Highway 11. Oddly enough, I didn’t start reading Seth’s writing until I moved to Minneapolis, and not long after that Seth moved down here. Anyway, on to today’s article.
Much has been made in local circles about the Twins and their potential interest in free agent 3B Joe Crede. Why wouldn’t fans and journalists alike make noise about Crede? He’s hit 30 home runs in a season before. He’s won a Silver Slugger and has played in an All Star Game. Year in and year out Bill James’ Fielding Bible pegs him as one of the very best defensive 3B in the game. We all watched him multiple times a year with the White Sox since his 2000 debut (interesting note: Crede’s career mark against the Twins is .273/.298/.481).
Some things from that list look pretty solid. The Twins haven’t had a 3B hit 30 home runs since 1987 or win a Gold Glove since 1989 (Gaetti), and a quick glance at this year’s depth chart at 3B, it doesn’t appear like that’s about to change. But let’s consider this:
Joe Crede career: .257/.306/.447 (93 OPS+)
Brendan Harris career v. LHP: .295/.360/.440 (117 OPS+)
Brian Buscher career v. RHP: .297/.354/.411 (116 OPS+)
I will grant that those numbers are far from a tell-all. Harris has 362 career plate appearances against LHP, and Buscher only 279 against RHP himself. Those numbers were drawn from a time where each player played against both LHP and RHP, rather than a strict platoon, also. Crede, on the other hand, has over 3000 career plate appearances and with it, an accomplished track record. Another thing to note, however, is that Crede is rumored to be asking for a base salary at or near the $5.1 million he made last year on a one-year deal. Buscher and Harris are both slated to make around one million dollars. Combined. Not only is it simply ‘arguable’ that Crede provides any upgrade at all offensively to a team who had production of .283/.330/.399 from the 3B spot (most definitely distorted by Mike Lamb’s awful tenure with the club), it’s impossible to argue that he’s worth a 5x pay upgrade to the guys already in place. This is even before considering that Crede only has three seasons of over 500 PA, and none since 2006. Only once has Crede put up an OPS greater than 800, also in 2006.
To summarize, if there was any reason to believe we could get v.2006 Joe Crede, he’d be worth 5 million dollars, but with the lack of confidence in Crede’s health and production, and the fact that the Twins like Danny Valencia long term, there just doesn’t appear to be a good reason to sign him.
Denard Span, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau combined to post a 0.92 K/BB ratio (195 K/210 BB) in 2008, while Delmon Young, Carlos Gomez, and Brendan Harris combined for a 3.48 ratio (345 K/ 99 BB).
If there was ever cause to carry a ROOGY (Righty One out Guy, as opposed to LOOGY like Dennys Reyes) on a major league bullpen roster, Boof Bonser would be that guy. Bonser has held righties to a miniscule .247/.296/.404 line, while lefties have blasted Boof to the tune of .316/.375/.516. Essentially, it’s like Boof has faced Justin Morneau each time he’s faced a lefty while making righties look like Marco Scutaro.
Does anybody in baseball have a job worse than Kevin Towers? The GM of the Padres has been forced to cut payroll down to $40 million from a team whose payroll is listed as having been over $73 million in 2008 and hasn’t been below $40 million since 2001. Additionally, Jake Peavy’s $11 million makes this increasingly difficult because it’s never easy to have a player consume over 25% of a budget, and perhaps more importantly, the public announcement has essentially tipped Towers’ hand and makes dealing for value virtually impossible.