The Real Value Of Joe Crede

Andrew KneelandSenior Writer IJuly 18, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 11:  Joe Crede #24 of the Minnesota Twins waits in the field against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on June 11, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Glen Perkins is historically at his worst in the first inning, the same as many other pitchers. After he surrendered that two-run blast to Josh Hamilton, though, there is no doubt his confidence fell a few notches. Then just when he needed it most, Joe Crede saved a potential triple with an amazing defensive stop.

That seems to be the norm for Crede. If Buscher were starting at the hot corner every night our young pitchers would be giving up quite a few additional extra-base hits up the left-field line.

Crede's defense is definitely very solid, but how does it compare to the rest of the league?

He boasts the highest fielding percentage of all other third baseman (who qualify), with .989. His OOZ (outs made out of zone) is just 30, while the leader in the league is the speedy Chone Figgins with 50. Crede ranks eighth in that department, which can be attributed to the fact that he is 31 years old and isn't as fleet of foot as other younger defenders (although Figgins is also 31, ironically).

Crede's Revised Zone Rating is .797, the best of any third baseman in baseball. It's safe to say that Crede is one of the top five defensive third baseman in either league. How about offense?

The first thing I looked at was his OPS+, which was exactly 100 before yesterday's game against the Rangers. A perfectly average hitter?

Crede is an extreme fly ball hitter, with a high 55 percent of hits ending either short of or over the outfield fence. He rarely hits groundballs, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

As you know, Crede signed a one year deal this past offseason that was laden with incentives. He has reached most of them, which Twins fans should be very excited about. Rare is the offseason signing that actually works out! I'm sure most fans would agree that Crede has been worth every penny. Sure, the offense isn't there, but Crede has never hit for a super average. We were hoping/expecting some pop in the lineup to go along with a great glove and we have received exactly that.

Whether or not the Twins should try and re-sign Crede, though, is a different story entirely. Crede hoped this one-year stint in Minnesota would prove to other teams that his back is no longer a problem and he is worth a semi-long deal worth lots of money. He has certainly showed us that, and who could blame him if he left for a team willing to pay a pretty price for his flashing glove?

Danny Valencia should be in a Twins uniform sometime next year, and hopefully he can be the full-time third baseman starting in 2011. That transition year of 2010 has the potential to be rough as both Buscher and Valencia will probably split time, but I wouldn't be opposed to signing Crede to another one-year deal if he can't find work anywhere else.

Judging from how he's played so far this year, though, I'd say that would be a long shot.

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