In last night's Seth Speaks podcast, I was asked if I thought Joe Crede might return to the Twins. By way of an answer, I'm pulling this piece I wrote for the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, addressed to the Twins General Manager. I hope you like it.
Call it the Luis Rivas syndrome.
For years, the Twins and Twins fans lamented the lack of development of Rivas, who started at second base for the Twins for five years, posting a career OPS of 681. Yet despite the perennial disappointment, he always returned for a simple reason: he never became good enough to get expensive.
I wonder if we might need to rename the syndrome this offseason.
Prior to the All-Star break, if anyone would’ve told me that this organization would have any chance to re-sign Joe Crede, I would’ve politely questioned their sanity. Crede had performed too well with 14 home runs and Gold Glove defense. He was positioned to draw a multi-year deal from someone, and the Twins weren’t going to make a multi-year commitment when they had prospect third baseman Danny Valencia working his way through the minors.
Three dismal months later, Crede suddenly makes more sense, because he never became good enough to get expensive. He spent a good chunk of the last three months injured (only 81 at-bats) so it seems unlikely he’ll earn a multi-year deal. (That dismal showing also means he won’t be ranked highly by Elias, eliminating the need to offer him arbitration.)
On the Twins side, there is still a need. Valencia wasn’t called up in September, so it’s unlikely everyone in the organization feels he’s the answer for Opening Day. And if someone keeps the position warm for half a year, Valencia won’t qualify for Super-2 status down the road. Plus, Crede’s key assets still remain – he’s a righthanded power hitter who plays fantastic defense at third base. That’s a better fit than most free agent third basemen.
And the injuries? Well, the team won’t be playing on the turf next year, which makes Crede more appealing. Also, the Twins were more patient than they probably should have been with Crede’s nagging injuries, which likely earned some points with Crede and agent Scott Boras. And if Crede breaks down over the second half of the season, you can turn to Valencia who should be a little closer to ready. On the other hand, he’s undergoing his third back surgery this year. Maybe you just want to move on.
Either way, there’s bad news here. You’re managing a team that wouldn’t even think about signing a guy who had a 750 OPS at the all-star break. However, once he posted a 558 OPS while playing in just 22 games afterwards – now he’s looking like a good fit. How depressing is that?
Estimated Contract: 1 year, $2M plus incentives