Crede's Clutch Hitting Heats up Hot Corner Debate for White Sox

Steve JankowskiAnalyst IApril 25, 2008

Joe Crede's game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Yankees last night comes as no surprise to fans of the White Sox.  But, if White Sox GM Kenny Williams had his way, Crede would have been traded, and Josh Fields would be the starter at third for the White Sox.

Crede's performance has done a couple of positive things for the White Sox. 

One, he has several key hits to give the Sox leads late in ballgames, including last night's game-winner off Joba Chamberlain.  His defense has also been top-notch. 

Two, he has proven that his back is healthy, which should help Williams if he decides to move the veteran third baseman.

Crede's strong play and good health could allow Williams to command more in return in a trade. 

If a trade involving Crede were to go through, Williams could ask for players that could either help the big-league ballclub, or restock a depleted farm system, that not long ago, was among the top farm systems in baseball.

Whatever Williams ends up doing, it looks to be a win-win for the team.

If Crede stays, the Sox know he plays Gold-Glove caliber defense at third base, and his clutch hitting has become the stuff of legend on Chicago's South Side.

If he leaves, that opens a spot for Josh Fields, who hit 23 home runs in 100 games last year, filling in for Crede after his back surgery.

It is highly unlikely that the Sox will part ways with Fields, who is younger than Crede and doesn't have the injury history that Crede has.  Fields is also considered a better power hitter than Crede, but not quite the clutch hitter than Crede has been.

But the biggest mistake for the White Sox to make would be to lose Crede without getting anything in return.

It's only a matter of time before one of the two is no longer in the White Sox organization, and when that time comes is anybody's guess.