Joe Crede to San Francisco: Why Signing Him Makes So Much Sense

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IFebruary 9, 2009

The last time Bay Area television station KPIX reported the San Francisco Giants had offered a free agent a contract, it was a case of hoping on the Manny Ramirez bandwagon and trying to get the scoop on something that never ended up happening.

Now CBS 5 is reporting the Giants have offered a one-year contract to third baseman Joe Crede, something that is a lot more logical and cheaper.

Crede is now the only free agent option the Giants really seem to be looking at besides Ramirez and with the terrible economy and Spring Training only a week away, getting into camp on time is probably as important as getting a contract.

Although there were no financial included in the CBS 5 report, the Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that Crede's agent, the infamous Scott Boras, is asking for around $7 million a year, something that will certainly confuse many.

But if the Giants’ reported offer is around $5 million, Crede’s previously reported asking price, and has some built-in incentives, then there’s a chance it could meet the new asking price that Boras is surely using as a leveraging tool.

Say he plays 140 games and hits around 20 home runs and 90 RBI, Brian Sabean will look like a genius. That's just the nature of the best. We all know it is.

However, if he gets hurt and misses 50 games, then he won't be brought back. It's that simple. He won't be tied down for five more years like Barry Zito is.

Yet there’s no doubt, when Crede is on the field, he’s one of the best around.

As an All-Star last season, Crede hit 252 with 16 home runs and 59 RBI before being sidelined for basically all of the second half with that nagging back injury. He was limited to one home run in 39 plate appearances after the break.

By bringing the 30-year-old Crede in, he would not only bring some more stability to a lineup that needs some help, but he would also allow Pablo Sandoval to slide across the diamond to first base, a position he has a lot more familiarity with in his professional career.

And don't you think that if the Giants wanted Sandoval to work on his defense at the hot corner in preparation for this season, they would've had him play third in winter ball?

Travis Ishikawa has yet to prove to me, and I feel like I'm in the minority on this one, that he can be an everyday first baseman in the big leagues. He has never put two back-to-back seasons together where he has had consistent numbers.

He won't be blocking any young talents in the system at third.

Conor Gillaspie will have to prove he can bring enough power in the minors to get a chance to play third at the Major League level. They said it when the Giants drafted and they will continue to say it until he brings a third base caliber power bat to his game.

And that brings us back to Crede.

His 2008 stats (.248, 17 HR, 55 RBI) in 97 games were basically the same as Giants’ team output at third base for 162 games (.267, 12 HR, 59 RBI).

To say he won’t help would be nuts and those stats are Exhibit A.

Then there is his defense.

Crede is not a great defender, but he’s steady.

He will commit his fair-share of errors, but you can say that about a lot of third basemen in the bigs today.

But with having a slower Edgar Renteria at short, having somebody at third who can cover a good amount of ground is a must if the Giants want to lean heavily on their pitching staff.

It may not bring the headlines that bringing in Ramirez would, but in the end, it may turn out to be the more educated baseball move.