The Minnesota Twins addressed a need of theirs right as spring training opened by signing long-time division rival Joe Crede to a one-year deal to play third base. Crede is guaranteed to make $2.5 million with a chance to make worth as much as $7 million if Crede reaches certain incentives.
Although this doesn't address the Twins biggest concern headed to 2009, the Twins did add power and run production from the right side along with one of the best gloves at the hot corner in all of baseball. That is, when Crede is healthy.
Crede is coming off of two seasons in which injuries were a major issue allowing him to average only 72 games over the two year span. In that time his average batting line was a .237 Avg., 10.5 HR, and 38 RBI. He also had 24 errors in 143 games in the field, however 20 of those came in 2008.
He also averaged much higher average numbers between 2003-2006, his first four seasons in the big leagues. During that time Crede averaged 23 bombs with 75 RBI while batting .258 for the Sox. He also only booted 11 balls per season.
The Twins don't have a ton of money invested in Crede, protecting them in case his back is not as healthy as he claims it is. If Crede is to falter, Minnesota is left with its platoon of third basemen it used in route to finishing second in the AL Central in 2008.
Brian Buscher, Brendan Harris, and Mike Lamb were those who spent time at third base for Minnesota in '08 and they totaled an average of 7 HR, 73 RBI, and a .264 batting average when their totals are averaged out over the course of 162 games.
Joe Crede will provide the Twins with instead an every day third baseman and allow the Twins to get slightly deeper on the bench. Buscher and Harris not won't be asked to carry the weight at third and that in turn allows them to be able to be used in utility roles on the team.
Third base is not the position that will likely win a division for Minnesota, nor will it necessarily lose it. The major question marks for the Twins this spring training remain with the starting rotation.
Can Baker or Liriano turn into the shut down ace? Can the middle and back end of the rotation put together a full season? Those are the questions that still play in the minds of Minnesota fans.
For a team that still has multiple question marks entering the 2009 campaign, Joe Crede addresses a concern for the Twins but the biggest question of starting pitching will remain unanswered until the regular season begins in April.