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It’s Saturday, but it kind of feels necessary to write something today. Anything going on with the Twins? Hmmm…
Well, we spent about four months waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen. There were a lot of rumors, but in the end, the only addition to the team was Luis Ayala, and he just basically replaces Dennys Reyes on the roster. The other move (or non-move) made was re-signing Nick Punto.
After it was first reported by SI.com’s Jon Heyman that the Twins and Joe Crede were close to an agreement, today LaVelle is calling it a done deal. He is saying that the Twins will announce this afternoon that they have signed 3B Joe Crede. The deal appears to have a base salary of $2.5 million with incentives that could make the deal go as high as $7 million. Remember when it came out that Crede and his agent Scott Boras were looking for $7 million as the base with incentives to go beyond that?
Before going any further, I want to take people back to my Thursday night live chat and this exchange:
[Comment From JC]
Honestly, I don’t think that Crede would give much depth, just different depth. I probably wouldn’t. In fact, I would probably make him an offer tonight… I’d offer him a base of $2.5 million, with incentives ($2.5 million for 450 plate appearances, another million for 550 PAs, and another million for 650 PAs)… I would give him until Friday at 6:00 Eastern time to accept it. If he does, great. If not, you just begin full camp on Saturday with what you got and move forward.
I believe if you add up that contract, it starts with a base salary of $2.5 million and includes incentives that could bring the total 2009 compensation to $7 million. The difference, as noted in LaVelle’s posting, is that the incentives will start at 250 plate appearances, not 450. Not a big deal, just means that Crede starts making more with few at bats.
I think there was confusion from people. Many seemed to think that I didn’t think Crede was a good player. But I think I have been pretty consistent in my stance on Crede. I think he is a good player. He was an All-Star after a very strong first half of 2008. But then soon after, he hurt his back and had his second major back surgery in about a 14 month time frame. I have said all along that he was probably worth picking up if the Twins truly believe that he will be able to play 120 or more games. I am completely comfortable with the contract they have agreed to. The risk is eliminated. The Twins will still have Harris and Buscher in the system (most likely) in case there is an injury. And if he is healthy, Crede provides right-handed power behind Justin Morneau while playing excellent 3B defense. A back injury playing on the Dome’s surface is a risk. I don’t think anyone claims it isn’t.
A couple of other questions this brings up:
1. Who will be dropped from the Twins 40 man roster to make room for Crede?
a. That would seem to be another very easy choice. With Crede, Buscher, Harris, Tolbert able to play 3B at the big league level, and Deibinson Romero simply having too much upside, and Trevor Plouffe, Danny Valencia and Luke Hughes strongly in the picture, it is obvious that Matt Macri should be removed from the 40 man roster.
UPDATE – The Pioneer Press’s Kelsie Smith reports that the Twins actually put Pat Neshek on the 60 Day Disabled List to make room for Crede. I didn’t realize that was an option yet, but that is an even better option.
2. Who will likely not make the initial 25 man roster?
a. This is maybe the more important question, but in my mind, it really isn’t as easy as you would think. I think that we can easily narrow it down to Brian Buscher, Brendan Harris and Matt Tolbert. Buscher provides a left-handed 3B option, and a lefty bat on the bench, but he can’t play the middle infield. Brendan Harris can play three infield positions, and could be a right-handed bat off the bench. Tolbert is probably the best of the three at all three defensive positions, and he’s a switch hitter. I guess my thought would be that Buscher would be the first to be sent down, then Tolbert, then Harris.
3. Will the people who complain about the Twins lack of payroll be happy?
a. Maybe a little, but many of them may have preferred the Twins just give him the $7 million, instead of $2.5 million, to make them feel better about the Twins payroll numbers.
4. What could a potential Twins lineup be? (This is kind of exciting!) How about:
a. Denard Span – CF
b. Alexi Casilla – 2B
c. Joe Mauer – C
d. Justin Morneau – 1B
e. Joe Crede – 3B
f. Jason Kubel – DH
g. Michael Cuddyer – RF
h. Delmon Young – LF
i. Nick Punto – SS
There are a couple of other Twins topics that I will be covering as well, but want to do so in separate postings to allow for discussion. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or leave Comments Here.