Siberian Baseball

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crede cuts ties to White Sox, moves to rival

The Chicago Auto Show is taking place downtown this week and heading down for a day has become a minor tradition for my brother-in-law and me. This makes for interesting timing, as we spent part of last year's visit discussing the future of Joe Crede and what the White Sox would do at third base for the 2008 season.

As of this morning, we'll have to think of something else to talk about.

Crede was in the Twin Cities to take his physical and presumably get back on a plane to Fort Myers, where he stands to be the starter at third for the Twins unless he gets hurt again. White Sox fans are more than aware that Crede's back has been a little iffy lately. This could very well be Chicago's version of a Trojan Horse in free agency form.

From the Twins site:

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that the deal features a base salary of $2.5 million, with the chance to earn $7 million in appearance bonuses. The bonuses begin once Crede reaches 250 plate appearances and tops out at $7 million following his 525th plate appearance...

The structure of the contract should help protect the Twins if Crede doesn't prove to be healthy. Crede, 30, has been limited to just 144 games the past two seasons due to back injuries. He's undergone two back surgeries over that time span, including one this past fall to remove a nerve impingement. His agent, Scott Boras, has told reporters that Crede is ready to go for Spring Training.

Back in Chicago, the team put a feature up on their site to pump up Fields a bit, drawing odd comparisons between Crede/Fields and Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers. I know, weird, huh?

More interesting were the Green Bay parallels that ran right down to managing fan expectations of the new guy getting set to take over.

From the White Sox site:

Truth be told, Fields might not wind up quite as spectacular as a healthy Crede was with the glove at the hot corner. He might never win any accolades for his fielding.

Then again, a scant few third basemen match up with Crede when he's on his game. The present concern for Fields is not these personal highlights, as much as simply fitting into the White Sox big picture. To reach this goal, Fields knew his defensive play had to improve from an inconsistent 2008...

In 2007, Fields hit 23 home runs and drove in 67 over 100 games. In 2008, Fields hit .156 without a home run over 14 games. When Crede went down because of his balky back, the White Sox opted to start Juan Uribe at third because of his stronger defense.

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