Thoughts on Joe Crede

Posted on April 3rd, 2009 – 7:36 AM
By La Velle

I wrote a piece about new Twins third baseman Joe Crede in today’s ink editions in which the Twins players I spoke with clearly feel like they are getting someone closer to the the 2006 version who hit .283 with 30 homers and 94 RBI and not the version who played in just 144 games because of back problems.

If Crede can stay on the field, I think he’ll be better than any Twins third baseman since Corey Koskie.

O.K. that’s not setting the bar high. But I do think we need to manage our expectations with Crede’s production.

First of all, will Crede hold up? Whenever someone has back surgery, you have too be concerned. But Randy Johnson overcame back surgery to have a pretty decent career.

But Crede has had his back invaded twice by surgical tools. He can say he’s healthy now, but we won’t know until the season is over if he it holds up. Crede told me earlier this week his back feels great. I have to believe him, especially when he was willing to nearly tumble over a railing earlier this week to catch a foul ball against Tampa Bay.

Ray righthander Matt Garza told me after the game that he thought Crede was nuts for laying out like that.

“I was like, `Dude, what are you doing?’ ” Garza said. “Doesn’t he want to play with his kids later in life?”

 Crede said his back has given him no trouble other than normal pre-season stiffness, and he’s got a pretty good maintenance program.

“Just stretching,” he said. “I ride a bike a lot. There’s a lot of back exercises I have gotten in my rehab program this year and I just stick with the same plan. We’ve got a plan for five days a week and just maintain it and build my strength up so I can last longer throughout the season.”

Crede’s career 162-game averages: .257 avg. 25 homers, 86 RBI, .306 OBP, .753 OPS.

With Brian Buscher around to give Crede a break, I think the season is a victory if Crede can play more than the 144 games he played over the past two seasons.

My threshold: .260 avg. 18 homers, 74 RBI. If he blows that out of the water, then the Twins made a great sign. But after two back surgeries, I think he expectations should be lower. And Buscher deserves to play a little.

I’ll leave you to consume Crede’s spring training history. I was curious to see if there was a correlation for him between spring numbers and regular season success (I just remember how he reported to camp and told Gardy that he needed A LOT of spring at-bats.).

Keep in mind that Crede’s productive years were from 2003-2006.

Year      G  AB  H HR RBI  .AVG

2009    16  48   8   1     5    .167
2008    12  37   5   1      1    .135
2007    19  60 22  2      9    .367
2006    22  64 20  1      6    .313
2005    23  66 18  2      9    .273
2004    19  56 20  2     11    .357
2003    22  72 22  4     11    .306
2002    23  50 19  0      7    .380

 Minor league cuts: The Twins have cut several minor leaguers this week:

Lefthander Kyle Aselton – an 11th round pick in 2004.

Third baseman Garrett Olson – FOURTH round pick in 2006  

Outfielder Edward Ovalle – watched him get two hits the day before being cut.

First baseman Johnny Woodard – THIRD round pick in 2003.

Second baseman Jenfred Brito - signed in 2005 out of Venezuela.

Shortstop Javier Brown -  39th round pick in 2008.

Catcher Andres Diaz – 43rd round pick in 2007.

Pitcher Danny Santiesteban – 39th round pick in 2005, drafted as an outfielder but switched to the mound last year.

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