Joe Crede Rumors

Discussion: Crede and Washburn

Scott Boras clients are disappearing from the market; Hank Blalock is narrowing his options and talking seriously with the Rays. Two who remain unsigned and without a major suitor yet, however, are Joe Crede and Jarrod Washburn. Let's look at their 2009s:

Crede, 31, had another injury-filled season after signing a one-year, $2.5MM (plus incentives) deal with the Twins late last offseason. When he was healthy, he was flat-out fantastic with the glove, according to UZR, posting a mark 23.4 through 728 innings of work. His offense was lackluster, but what we've come to expect from Crede: a low OBP with good home run power. He posted a line of .225/.289/.414 but mashed 15 home runs in 367 PAs.

Washburn, 35, put up brilliant numbers in Seattle prior to a catastrophic collapse after being traded to the Tigers prior to the deadline. He watched his ERA rise from a sparkling 2.64 to 3.78 in his time as a Tiger, thanks to 43 innings of 7.33 ERA ball. Washburn's peripherals and phenomenal outfield defense in Seattle suggested that he might regress somewhat in Detroit, but no one could've expected results that bad. In his defense, he dealt with left knee injuries late in the season. Still, a mark closer to his 4.58 FIP is probably a better gauge of Washburn's ability.

Both remain unsigned despite the fact that Spring Training is under way. Washburn reportedly turned down a one-year, $5MM offer from the Twins earlier this offseason. That money has since gone to Orlando Hudson, so the Twins may be done spending. Washburn's been selective with his teams; he preferred to pitch close to his home in Wisconsin (Twins or Brewers) or return to Seattle.

Crede has yet to receive any offers, although reports are that he's hitting, throwing, and waiting for an offer.

What are some potential landing spots for the pair of free agents? We've heard Baltimore mentioned as having interest in both, though their corner infield spots are likely set at this point. Seattle could still use Washburn, and the Mets could benefit as well.

In addition to that, what kind of money should they expect? It seems hard to imagine Crede landing more than a minor league deal, and Washburn's chances of matching the $5MM offered by Minnesota aren't looking great. Both players can help a major league team if healthy, though.

It's a bit of a slow hot stove day, so put on your Scott Boras shoes and discuss your plan of attack to finding your clients a team for 2010.


Odds & Ends: Chapman, Upton, Mets, Gallardo

Some links as Spring Training games get started…


Crede Unlikely To Re-Sign With Minnesota

Reporting from the TwinsFest fan session, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (via Twitter) has "got hints" that the Twins won't bring back free agent Joe Crede in 2010. In a follow-up tweet, Christensen said the reason was that it is "too hard to keep Crede on the field, which hamstrings your roster" and that the Twins would prefer to see Brendan Harris play third for now with an eye on prospect Danny Valencia eventually taking over the position.

Crede signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Minnesota last February that could have been worth as much as $7MM had he reached all of the contract's many incentive levels.  Unfortunately for Crede, he was limited to just 367 plate appearances last season thanks to the latest in a series of back problems that have plagued the veteran third baseman.  His September surgery to remove fluid from a herniated disk was the third procedure on his back in as many years.  Crede hit .225/.289/.414 last season.



Olney’s Latest: Hernandez, Mets, Orioles, GM’s, Harper

In today's blog post at ESPN.com, Buster Olney writes about Miguel Tejada's trip to Haiti, plus what other agents have privately speculated about what a fair deal for Felix Hernandez (six years and $110 million) would be. 

Here's the rest of Olney's rumors…

  • Mets' GM Omar Minaya was never given a budget this offseason. The front office is making recommendations to COO Jeff Wilpon on a case-by-case basis without knowing if they're approaching a payroll limit. It's easy to see how that could become a problem.
  • The Orioles continue to look for a corner infielder, preferably a third baseman so that Garrett Atkins could man first. Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun notes that Andy MacPhail has had talks with the agents for Joe Crede and Tejada. 
  • Last week's GM meeting went so well that it ended up lasting five hours longer than originally scheduled. They discussed changes to the draft among other things, but Olney notes that some executes are concerned that a slotting system may lead to a situation where having the first overall pick is viewed as a bad thing because of the bonus required to sign the player. Allowing teams to trade picks would solve that.
  • Some scouts question how Bryce Harper's size will impact his game going forward. Harper, the projected top pick for the 2010 Draft, is already 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds at age-17. "You worry that if he gets too big, his swing just won't be quick enough when he starts facing guys who throw harder," said one evaluator.

Corner Infield Options For The Orioles

The Orioles' search for a corner infielder begins with a pair of Scott Boras clients and extends to Puerto Rico, but with a number of alternatives available, the club can afford to wait. Boras, who spoke recently with team president Andy MacPhail, tells Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that Hank Blalock and Joe Crede are options for the Orioles.

"They are fits for Baltimore," Boras said. "It just really depends on whether they want a first or a third baseman."

MacPhail would prefer to play Garrett Atkins at first, according to the Sun, so Crede might makes more sense for the O's. Crede will be looking for the kind of make good contract that fellow Boras client Adrian Beltre signed last week: a short term deal that allows the player to demand a bigger contract if he succeeds.

As expected, the Orioles scouted Carlos Delgado in Puerto Rico last week, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.com. Kubatko names Russell Branyan, Ryan Garko and Chad Tracy as alternatives the O's could pursue.

The Sun notes that the O's signed former Marlin Andy Gonzalez to a minor league deal.


Odds & Ends: Standridge, Johnson, Davis, Crede

Links for Thursday…

  • Josh Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick is now "cautiously optimistic" about a potential long-term deal with the Marlins for his client, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. However, the two sides still have differing thoughts on the proper comparables to use for Johnson's 2010 salary.  I'd say Ben Sheets, Carlos Zambrano, and Zack Greinke might be used in that discussion, but given Johnson's $1.4MM salary in '09 he probably can't expect much more than $4.2MM. 
  • What do Tupac, Sandra Bullock, and MLBTR have in common?  They're all favorites of Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
  • Scott Lauber of The News Journal tweets that the Phillies signed righty Jason Standridge to a minor league deal.  The former Rays first-rounder pitched only 12.6 innings for the Marlins' Triple A club this year. 
  • Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports wrote last night that the Twins, Brewers, Mets, and Nationals have interest in free agent lefty Doug Davis.  Davis suggested to MLB.com's Bill Ladson that the Nats are more focused on adding a second baseman.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASN says Joe Crede "appears to top" the Orioles' free agent list.
  • The Mets signed lefty Bobby Livingston to a minor league deal, tweets MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.  The 27-year-old southpaw logged 156 innings of 4.15 ball at various minor league stops in 2009.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says players of Adam LaRoche's caliber should take note of his new deal, because "the offers aren't going to get any better."
  • Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post runs through Yorvit Torrealba's suitors, while also noting that Miguel Olivo's $2.5MM option for 2011 can become a player option with 110 games in '10.
  • Catcher Mike Rabelo is a new name among the Tigers' 17 minor league deals announced today, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck.

Cardinals Have $6-7MM Left To Spend

Now that Matt Holliday's mega-contract is all but official, the Cardinals have approximately $6-7MM left in their budget according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. The team must now figure out how to allocate those funds, because they still have to address third base and the back of the rotation, plus the bullpen and bench.

"It's a great question and one that I don't know the answer to today," (GM John) Mozeliak said on Thursday when asked what comes next. "[Assistant GM John] Abbamondi, myself, Jeff [Luhnow, scouting director and farm director] and the group will sit down tomorrow. I'll then also get with Tony [La Russa, manager] over the weekend and we'll kind of prioritize what we think, if we had a bullet to use, what would we use it on. Once we get to that point, then we'll look at what's out there and how to use that resource if it's there. We may stand pat. But we'll see." 

As Leach points out, the Cardinals do have in-house options at third (David Freese) and the fifth starter's spot (Jaime Garcia, Mitchell Boggs, Blake Hawksworth), though the bench – particularly a lefty hitter – is an area the team will have to go outside of the organization to upgrade. 

We've seen names like Miguel Tejada, Joe Crede, and Felipe Lopez mentioned as possible fits for the Cardinals in recent weeks.


Odds & Ends: Red Sox, Damon, Boras, Padres

Some links for Friday…

  • Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com reports that the Red Sox considered dealing Jason Varitek and Shea Hillenbrand for Adrian Beltre and Paul LoDuca before the 2003 season.
  • The Twins invited Mike Maroth and 13 other non-roster players to Spring Training, according to a team press release.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski tells MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter) that the Tigers have no intention of adding a DH.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that the team is focusing on adding an outfielder, not a catcher or a starter. Sabean, who would prefer to add a left-handed hitter, did not confirm or deny interest in Johnny Damon.
  • Scott Boras would let Adrian Beltre baby-sit his kids, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
  • Boras says he approached the Red Sox about the idea of signing Adrian Beltre to a "pillow contract," according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Boras likes that Beltre will likely attract lots of attention in Boston.
  • Boras tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's starting to have "a lot of conversation" about Rick Ankiel. He also suggests Joe Crede could be a fit for the Cards.
  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times tweets that the Franklin Gutierrez extension should become official today.
  • ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Hideki Matsui's one-year $6MM deal with the Angels set the market for other DH-types like Vladimir Guerrero.
  • As MLB.com's Corey Brock notes (via Twitter), the Royals' pending deal with Scott Podsednik could influence the offers the Padres make to Jerry Hairston Jr. and Randy Winn.
  • The Nippon Ham Fighters acquired former Blue Jay reliever Brian Wolfe, according to the Kyodo News.
  • Carlos Delgado hit a homer in the Puerto Rican Winter League yesterday, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
  • Jason Giambi is open to returning to the Rockies if he doesn't find a DH job, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch totals up the Cardinals' payroll and finds that the club has $7.4MM to spend on four players – an outfielder, an infielder, a reliever and a starter.

Orioles Seeking Closer, Corner Infielders

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun dishes the latest Orioles hot stove news…

  • The Orioles contacted the agents for a few of Saturday's non-tendered players, including reliever Matt Capps.  Capps' agent has mentioned his client's desire to close as a major factor, and the Orioles could accomodate.  However, Connolly names Fernando Rodney as Baltimore's top target at closer.  Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde, and Kevin Gregg are also of interest, though Gonzalez and Valverde are dinged for the draft pick cost.
  • The Orioles need help at the infield corners, and they've contacted the agents for a long list of free agents: Carlos Delgado, Hank Blalock, Joe Crede, Nick Johnson, Ryan Garko, Garrett Atkins, and Mike Jacobs.  I think they'd be best-served by adding Delgado and Crede.  Your thoughts?
  • Connolly indicates that about 25, rather than 15, teams were on hand to watch Aroldis Chapman yesterday.  So the list of teams not monitoring Chapman is shorter.  The Orioles remain involved.

Twins Rumors: Third Base, Harden

2:34pm: Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke to DeRosa's agent Keith Grunewald, who said talks with the Twins have been nothing more than preliminary.

10:49am: Neal has more, questioning the Feliz and Uribe links.  Also, Neal spoke to someone from Rich Harden's agency and came away thinking the Mariners are the favorite (the Twins have not been in contact recently).

9:28am: Let's take a look at the Twins' third base situation.  Yesterday afternoon, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports said they're considering free agents Adrian Beltre, Pedro Feliz, Mark DeRosa, and Juan Uribe, though Beltre and DeRosa might be too pricey.  He did not see Boston's Mike Lowell as a target.  ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. has the Astros and Orioles in on Feliz, in addition to the Twins.

La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote early this morning that the Twins are "very interested in DeRosa."  A trade for Kevin Kouzmanoff is another possibility, while re-signing Joe Crede hasn't been ruled out.