Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why Not? Joe Crede

Much has been made this offseason about the Third Base situation. Who should it be? Are their internal options? Can Pablo Sandoval handle the job full time? Can Jesus Guzman make the jump to the major league level? Can the Giants find an adequate trading partner? Should they fill the spot via free agency with guys like Ty Wiggington? How about Joe Crede?

Joe Crede is an interesting name out there and many fans seem to want to take a flyer on him. There are valid reasons to want him on the Giants, at least based on past performance. Crede has shown good power, the ability to hit in the clutch, and a great glove. But is he really the answer, long term or short?

Crede is coming off serious back surgery after the 2006 season and played in only 47 and 97 games the next two seasons, while bouncing around the disabled list. he hasn't been able to stay healthy or in a lineup consistantly, and his bat hasn't come back all the way. His normally supurb defense took a major hit last season as well. His career average of 11 Errors in approx 1200 innings at third went up to 20 Errors in 834 innings. That's nearly double the Errors in 3/4 the total innings or a dip from .970 to .930 fielding percentage, not even an average fielder.

While no one thinks he can't get healthy or have a rebound season, the question remains, will he ever get back to his old form?

At 30, Crede should be in his prime, but only for maybe a few more seasons. With the injury history, it is easy to argue he may have played his best already. In the past, Crede put up 4 consecutive seasons (2003-2006)of 19, 21, 22, and 30 HRs, last year 17. With a better lineup around him than the Giants are expected to have, he only produced 75, 69, 62, and 94 RBIs, last season 55. Crede's batting lines were .261/.308/.433/92 OPS, .239/.299/.418/83 OPS, .252/.303/.454/96 OPS, and .283/.323/.506/107 OPS. Last season he hit .248/.314/.460/98 OPS.

Those aren't exactly numbers that jump out as threatening. Compareable 3B on the trading block or in F.A. like Ty Wiggington- 34 2B, 23 HR, 79 RBI, .270/.330/.460/105, Jorge Cantu-40 2B, 23 HR, 96 RBI, .275/.317/.460/102, and Edwin Encarnacion- 35 2B, 23 HR, 85 RBI, .266/.346/.455/103. Other third base options possibly include JJ Hardy, Hank Blaylock, Rich Aurilia, Ryan Zimmerman (highly unlikely at this point but is possible), and Garrett Atkins. All of which have a higher career OPS, BA, and OB%. Only Rich Aurilia lags behind in Slugging, with a career average of only 4 less HR, 6 less RBI, and SL% differencial of .010.

The Giants really only need 1 corner infielder, and if they expand to the First base market, guys like Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, Nick Swisher, Chris Davis, and Jason Giambi could be had. Everyone of those is much more potent on offense and the defense Swisher and Davis would provide is at least the same caliber that Crede would provide. With the exception of Davis, all could be had relatively cheaply.

One of the strongly used arguements for signing Joe Crede is the ability to get him on a short term deal. Crede could probably be signed for 1 year and between 6 and 8 million. If the Giants wait long enough, maybe even 5 million. Of the others mentioned above, only Aurilia can more than likely be had on a 1 year deal, but the way the free market is setting up I would not be suprised to see guys like Dunn, Giambi, Burrell, and Wigginton be had on 2 year deals. The reasoning behind the 1 year deal is based around when the Giants young pitching is major league ready and the surplus can be used as trade bait to acquire a young power hitting third baseman.

While I agree this is what eventually will need to be done, nothing points to the Giants being able to count on that surplus next offseason.

While Joe Crede would provide some added boost to the offense, he still wouldn't even be the best bat in the lineup. Bill James Handbook for 2009 shows these projections:

Joe Crede- 96 G, 16 2B, 14 HR, 47 RBI, .255/.312/.447/.759
Bengie Molina- 140 G, 25 2B, 17 HR, 83 RBI, .277/.311/.421/.732
Randy Winn- 155 G, 37 2B, 11 HR, 63 RBI, .287/.347/.416/.763
Pablo Sandoval- 150 G, 42 2B, 17 HR, 103 RBI, .320/.346/.500/.846
Fred Lewis- 140 G, 25 2B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, .277/.353/.416/.769
Travis Ishikawa- 50 G, 12 2B, 7 HR, 30 RBI, .271/.340/.476/.816
Edgar Renteria- 146 G, 33 2B, 11 HR, 69 RBI, .286/.345/.406/.751
Nate Schierholtz-140 G, 36 2B, 17 HR, 74 RBI, .299/.331/.491/.822
Aaron Rowand- 154 G, 38 2B, 18 HR, 74 RBI, .276/.339/.438/.777
Kevin Frandsen- 144 G, 33 2B, 8 HR, 54 RBI, .280/.322/.402/.724

As you can see, everyone currently expected to see the majority of playing time for the Giants is projected to have a better offensive season than Crede, with the onlt exception being in Kevin frandsen's power. The 2 guys most affected by a Crede arrival, Sandoval and Ishikawa, have higher pojections then all the veterens. Now, Crede is only projected for slightly over half the games and could end up staying healthy, but there in lies the biggest problem with him...

Joe Crede can't be counted on to stay healthy! Joe Crede can't be counted on to provide an offensive upgrade over anyone on the team, especially the guy he would bumb, Pablo Sandoval. The other problem is Crede would force Sandoval over to first, which is probably his better position, but more likely than not would force Sandoval back and forth throughout the year as Crede is hurt. That would not help the development of Pablo Sandoval nor Travis Ishikawa.

Joe Crede shouldn't be signed at any costs, he just isn't right, this is why not...

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