I realize that this is probably unlikely given the team’s signing of Mike Lamb as the platoon partner for Bill Hall, as well as the imminent rise of Mat Gamel to the Major-League level as soon as this year. However, I think having those two players as potential replacements makes taking a risk on Joe Crede an even better idea.
With Russell Branyan leaving us for Seattle, it’s clear that we need another player to take on the platoon role. One would expect that this replacement would have to be like the muscle, left handed, such as Lamb or Gamel.
However, there are two things that should be taken into consideration here. First, defense. A player that hits right handers better than Hall and plays solid (average or better) defense at third base would be worth platooning with Hall.
Secondly, and the reason that a Hall/Crede platoon would be viable, is reverse platoon splits.
Although it is rare, occasionally a player comes around who hits same-handed pitchers as good or even a little bit better than he hits other pitchers. Crede certainly fits this mold over the last few years, having a better AVG, SLG, OPS, and wOBA against RHP over each of the last three years.
This is pretty consistent with his overall career numbers. To see the complete numbers, see here
To see the actual value of a Crede/Hall platoon, I ran a Marcel-type analysis on Crede’s vs. RHP numbers, much like I did with Mike Lamb and Hall in this post. I’ll throw in the numbers from that one here for easy comparison.
The difference between the Crede/Hall platoon and the Lamb/Hall platoon is 2.55 wins, and the Crede/Hall platoon is 2.72 wins better then just Hall alone. This adds up to somewhere around $10 million or more for the Brewers, as well as increasing their current win expectation from the 83-85 win range to the 85-87 win range.
So we can see that a Crede/Hall combination is potentially quite valuable for Milwaukee. The only question mark with this platoon is whether or not Crede can stay healthy enough to record the 450-500 PAs necessary to fulfill his duties.
And I feel that’s where most of the reprehension that Brewers fans (and more importantly, the Brewers' front office) would have towards Crede would come in.
This feeling, however, is likely spread across all of MLB, and could potentially drive his value down low enough where the risk would be worth offering a one year deal to.
Personally, I feel like Joe Crede could be the Mike Cameron of 2009 if given the chance. He would be perfect for the same type of deal that Cameron received in the winter of 2008. He could, ideally, be the bridge to Gamel in a year or two.