Hank Blalock And Joe Crede

Hank Blalock is healthy, hit 25 homers last season and has Scott Boras representing him, but he still couldn't find a major league job after the Rays assigned him to the minors. Blalock figures to contribute to the Rays at some point this season even though this is not the route he wanted to take. But Blalock's trouble finding a job shows that another Scott Boras client doesn't have it easy.

Joe Crede turns 32 in April, which makes him two and a half years older than Blalock. Crede underwent surgery in September because of a herniated disk in his back. He has since recovered and was throwing and hitting a month ago, but teams haven't forgotten the back, shoulder, hand, knee and hamstring injuries Crede struggled with last year. 

Crede's bat is comparable to Blalock's at this point. Blalock appeared in more games than Crede, picked up 128 more plate appearances and hit ten more homers, but Crede's rate stats (.225/.289/.414) resemble Blalock's (.234/.277/.459). 

Even though Crede is older, more injury-prone and no more productive at the plate, Boras can point to Crede's defense. Every year since 2002, when data became available, UZR has ranked Crede as an above-average defender at third and he has defended particularly well in recent years.

If Blalock can't find a job now, it's unlikely that Crede can. It's hard to imagine Boras and Crede finding a guaranteed contract now, when roster spots are at a premium. But if Crede proves his health in workouts, he could become an attractive mid-season option for risk-taking GMs in search of a cheap third baseman who can play defense and add a little power. 



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