Done Deal: Twins Ink Joe Crede

Dan WadeSenior Analyst IFebruary 21, 2009

On the day of the first full-squad workout, the Twins added a new player to the squad.

Verifying reports that began to surface last night, free agent third baseman Joe Crede is expected to officially join the Twins in Fort Myers today or tomorrow, and will hopefully be ready for the Twins' first game on the 25th.

The deal Crede wanted, once rumored to be as high as $7 million base salary with another $5 million in incentives, was a far cry from the one he received.

The final deal included a $2.5 million base salary with incentives based on PAs that would bring the total contract to $7 million. The Twins managed to get the player they wanted without overpaying, which ought to make fans and management alike excited about this move.

This deal minimizes the risks associated with signing a player who has missed parts of the last two seasons with injuries; the Twins potentially could pay Crede less than they are paying offensive black hole Nick Punto.

Had the Twins caved to the pressure and signed him for the $7 million-$12 million he wanted, it would have been a mistake of Rondell White proportions.

Having the contract's incentives be triggered by plate appearances could be a catch-22 for the Twins. While it protects them from paying Crede if he is seriously hurt, it increases the likelihood that Crede will try to play through pain.

Giving some players an incentive towards toughness can be a good thing, but Crede is known as one of the tougher players in the league, and doesn't need any further push in that direction.

In fact, trying to play through too many injuries could prove more harmful to the Twins than helpful.

Having Brenden Harris and Brian Buscher as backups should give Ron Gardenhire the buffer he needs to feel comfortable pulling the plug on Crede if his herniated disc still proves to be problematic.

On paper, Crede looks like a phenomenal addition, especially if he gets anywhere near his 2006 numbers, which isn't out of the question.

Defensively, he should be solid at the very minimum and could be near gold glove level if he is healthy. The question is what he can produce offensively.

At this point, it would be prudent to point out that his career line isn't superb, but also that in 97 games, he hit more home runs than the Twins got the entire 2008 season from the third base position.

The Twins will soon find out whether they found a bargain or paid fair value for a high injury risk player.

Now that Billy Smith has provided a player to fill the Twins rather gaping hole at third base, it is up to Ron Gardenhire to make sure that he gets the most out whoever he decides to run onto the field.