Out of the Box: Just Say No to Joe (Crede)

5 Feb

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.

Random:
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.

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15 Responses to “Out of the Box: Just Say No to Joe (Crede)”

  1. Josh Johnson February 5, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    Roseau? Great town! Go Rams/Polaris! A lot of my family is from Roseau.

    Good read, Brandon!

  2. thrylos98 February 5, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

    One of the Twins’ deficiencies is power right hand hitters.

    Crede can fit the bill potentially. Here is a split:

    (your split above) Buscher career isoP against RHP: .114
    Crede career isoP against RHP: .198
    Plus, Buscher’s “defense” is a liability. He has to go to Rochester where he belongs…

  3. Brandon Warne February 6, 2009 at 3:32 am #

    I dig the isolated power stat, but while it proves Crede has more pop, the ultimate conclusion is that he still makes an out in nearly 70 percent of his plate appearances, while Buscher is closer to 64.5 percent.

    The defense more than makes up for it, but I’m not interested in 5 million dollars for defense. We’re already doing that with Nick Punto.

  4. Bill in Sarasota February 6, 2009 at 7:22 am #

    The downside is injury and missed games.

    The upside is more power, better defense, a stronger bench, and possible comp picks next year if Crede is a Type A or B player.

  5. Tweety February 6, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    Nice post BWarne, a little surprised there’s no Kubel man-love in there….

  6. doofus February 6, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    If Crede has great defensive ability, that alone would make it a good idea since the platoon brothers are either average or below average at best. Crede is also a strong RH power bat. Plus knowing Crede could have some issues with the turf, I imagine the Twins could give him some extra time off against tough RH pitchers by letting Buscher getting some starts. Crede solves a couple of problems for the Twins. RH power bat and improved IF defense. % million may be high for a guarenteed base, but a guarentee of 3 million with a high of 7 or 8 million isn’t unreasonable. And while he costs 5 times more for what is likely to be 2x the production (runs produced + runs saved) The Twins obviously have the room in the budget so it should be a non issue at this point since it is likely to be only a one year deal with maybe an option. The Twins are close enough to be serious contenders for the playoffs that a deal like this makes sense. The only question to ask is he going to be able to stay healthy? And that is what the Twins are taking their time trying to figure out.

  7. Funkytown February 6, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    Buscher was impressive for most of the year, RBI/RISP wise…but the lack of power continues to be a concern. Seth I know you keep believing it’ll come..but where’s the beef, so to speak?

    Buscher’s average, while a most-time player, dropped nearly 20 points the last 6 weeks of the season. A .222 average in September sticks with me big time. Add to that a below-average glove, and I’ll take my chances with Crede for 2009.

  8. Seth February 6, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    I’ve never said I think Buscher would add power. he is what he is. I’ve always said that. he’s a solid hitter who generally puts together good, smart at bats, fully understanding the situation and has a plan. never said he’d add much power.

    The .222 average in September wasn’t good… but why go there… I mean, does that mean you think that the Twins should give up on Morneau? How did he do in September.

    I’m definitely not touting Buscher as ‘the answer.’ In fact, I’ve said several times that I would like to see Harris just win the job and see what he can do. I don’t know that Gardy would have that, but I would.

    Again, i’ve also consistently said that if I believe (or the Twins really believe) that Crede can play 130 games, go for it.

  9. Mike C February 6, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    I still see a guyt with a better glove,more power, more potential RBI that could have a bigger impact on the hitters he’s surrounded by in the lineup. Let’s face it, the Twins need some more pop in the lineup a healthy Crede would likely hit 30-35 HR. Considering previous Twins FA pick ups, Crede is much less of a risk than the Twins are used to.

  10. j-sin February 6, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    I think all these feelings are right on. I think we need to realize that Boras is playing the Twins media by making comments in the Star Tribune, which makes me not trust that Crede is healthy. So I think the only reasonable offer that Crede should take is a guaranteed ~$3mil, plus 2-4 million in incentives, as felt by other posters here. Harris will be 2b, SS,3b utility, with Buscher spelling 3b and 1b. Tolbert will be in AAA, but will be up if/when an injury occurs to an infielder.

    A lineup with Crede behind Morneau is much better than with Delmon behind him.

  11. J. Lichty February 6, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Do Harris/Buscher still have options? If so, I would be more quick to make the move. If not, I would not do it.
    Although I do not think that Crede is a huge upgrade over the Harris/Buscher platoon (I think both will improve this year), he is an upgrade.

  12. Brandon Warne February 6, 2009 at 5:37 pm #

    All things being equal, there’s no denying a Joe Crede, when healthy, is an upgrade.

    But all things aren’t equal. Crede wants 5+ mill, and maybe incentives. Crede’s played about a full season of at bats in the last 2 seasons. He was decent in one of those years, and absolutely awful in the other. I’ll grant that his back probably hampered him in that first year, but it’s still a bit scary.

    I’d be on board if I felt Crede was the difference maker in getting us to the playoffs. I don’t feel he is, though. It would be spending an additional 4 million dollars on maybe 1-2 wins, which may have gotten us into the playoffs last year, but may or may not do it in the near future.

  13. sploorp February 7, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    First off, I don’t think Crede is going to get 5.1 million this year. I think it’s going to be somewhere closer to what Wiggy got, plus enough incentives to maybe get what he wants if he stays healthy and productive.

    Last year the guy had back problems, but he still managed to play in 97 games and hit 17 homers. Even if you imagine a worse case scenario where they give him the deal he wants and his back flares up again, it still wouldn’t be a total loss. You would have his bat and glove in the line up when healty and when he’s hurt, the team just goes to the Buscher/Harris platoon.

    You can cruch offensive numbers all you want, but a guy like Crede commands a lot more respect than anybody else they’re likely to put out there to protect Morneau. Morneau will probably start seeing better pitches to hit and won’t get intentionally walked nearly as often. It would sure be nice to see him hit 30+ homers and 130+ RBI’s again.

    Having a guy like Crede in the line up will also take a lot of heat off of guys like Young, Kubel, Cuddy and to a lesser extent Gomez. Add in his glove and you have a guy that could impact the team in a lot more ways than how he stacks up versus righties and lefties compared to a Harris/Buscher platoon.

    I also can’t help but think about Santana’s comments about the Twins always planning for the future and never trying to win now. Morneau has already dropped a few hints about adding another bat to the mix. The team will also have to start negotiating an extension for Mauer soon and there will be something like 10 players eligible for arbitration next year. Signing a player like Crede could go a long way toward cutting off any hard feelings before they have a chance to fester. That can only help in any negotiations they have over the next year or two.

    Even if Crede gets hurt, I’m just not seeing the downside on this guy in any way shape or form. Unless there is some secret deal pending for Beltre that doesn’t include trading off any of the starting pitching, the Twins should sign Crede.

  14. Kyle Mick February 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    Good article Brandon, looking forward to your next one

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Minnesota Twins Sign Luis Ayala; Joe Crede Signing Looming - February 7, 2009

    […] Warne from SethSpeaks.net puts together an argument against acquiring Joe Crede, stating that a Buscher/Harris platoon puts up similar numbers at a fraction of […]

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