How much is Joe Crede worth?

Posted on February 13th, 2009 – 2:10 PM
By La Velle

The Twins were present today in Arizona as free agent third baseman Joe Crede took batting practice. The Twins remain interested in his services, but indications are that Crede wants $7 million guaranteed – up to $11 million with incentives – and the Twins aren’t going there. 

Indications are that the Twins are willing to craft a deal that reaches $7-8 million with incentives. The incentives would occur right away, like getting $1 million or so for making the Opening Day roster.

It has become THE question of the offseason for Twins fans who are salivating over Crede settling into the Twins batting order and wearing out left-handed pitchers – how much is Crede worth?

I admit I would have taken the plunge at a base salary of $5 million with incentives to push it past $8 million. A $7 million base, to me, is risky when you’re talking about someone with back problems playing home games on FieldTurf.

So how much is he worth when healthy? Let’s take a look at some numbers.

His last healthy season was 2006, when he hit .283 with 30 homers and 94 RBI. Let’s say that Crede would go .280-25-85 as a Twin – that’s just me throwing out numbers without looking up projections. Now let’s who preformed that well last season.

Troy Glaus .271-25-96 – made $12.5 million last season.

Adrian Beltre .269-23-71 – made $12 million

Melvin Mora: .284-22-100 – made $7.8 million

Chipper Jones: .365-20-70 – made $15 million

David Wright: .302-33-124 - made  $5 million in what would have been an arbitration year.

Aramis Ramirez: .290-27-111 – $15 million

Then you have players in the early stages of their careers – like Kevin Kouzmanoff, Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Reynolds – who made less than $500,000.

So it’s easy to see what the price of a good third baseman is. And it’s a little more understandable why Boras asked for what he did. I’m sure the Twins feel that Boras needs to consider the injury risk a little more – as well as where the market has gone.

As someone with the club pointed out, Crede couldn’t answer the bell for his free agent year, which is a bad sign. Someone else pointed out that Crede has had back problems while playing on real grass. What will happen if he plays on FieldTurf? And I have been told that Twins doctors have expressed some concern about Crede’s medical reports.

Other things to consider:

1. How much will the Twins learn by watching Crede work out in Arizona. Nothing will be known for sure until he tries to play a bunch of games in a row.

2. It’s not that far-fetched to think that Brian Buscher can improve this season. He’s not vacum vacuum at third but what if he does  better than .294/.340/.390 with 4 homers and 47 RBI in 70 games? And that RBI rate isn’t bad.

3. A healthy Michael Cuddyer and another step forward from Delmon Young will improve the Twins’ slugging stats against lefties.

4. Do the Twins have Mike Lamb-itis? Tony Bautista disease? Do they feel that any third baseman they sign will fail?

5. Do the Twins think that C doesn’t stand for Crede but for chronic? And that’s chronic not, The Chronic. Not sure how good Dr. Dre’s glove is…..

Just some food for thought as this thing plays out.

I want to call your attention to this story. The Twins maintain this pitcher is still a first round talent and could still draft him. But you wonder how the kid feels after going through the ordeal. The Twins provided testimony for the case and told the truth.

Sometime next week, I will post a spring training guide of places to go in Fort Myers. I’m already getting e-mail requests from fans that are coming down for games and want the lowdown

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