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I guess Little Orphan Annie was right. The sun will come up tomorrow if you only believe. Although based on the move the Twins made over the weekend, I’m convinced it will rise in the West. I’m also quite certain now that God really didn’t make little green apples and it don’t snow in Minneapolis in the wintertime.

After a winter of fans discontent due to free-agent inactivity, the Twins pulled off a major and surprising coup on Saturday morning when they announced the signing of third baseman Joe Crede to a one-year, incentive-laden contract. And they did it on their terms.

Reports are that Crede and, even more unexpectedly--his agent Scott Boras, agreed to a much lower guaranteed contract than he was reportedly looking for, settling for $2.5 million guaranteed with the ability to earn up to $7 million if performance incentives are met.

Crede says he chose the Twins over the San Francisco Giants because he preferred to stay in the AL Central Division where he knows the pitchers. He also said he believes the Twins have a much higher upside than the Giants, so his decision was easy.

I’ve spent a lot of time criticizing the Twins and general manger Bill Smith this winter because of their unwillingness to spend money they have available to take a chance on a big name player to improve the team. But I have to hand it to Smith, this was a very good and a very sensible deal.

Crede, if healthy, immediately changes the dynamics of the entire team on several levels. He becomes the most potent right-handed bat in the Twins lineup, dominated by left-handed stars. If Cuddyer can stay healthy and rebound in ’09, and if Delmon Young can learn to take instruction and start to show his potential, the Twins may have one of the better lefty-righty lineups in the Central Division. They should no longer be dominated by left-handed pitchers. And he creates a team that can win a game with their bats, as well as their pitching and defense.

Twins pitchers will immediately improve by having their ERAs and OBP percentages lowered because of Crede’s defensive ability. He will get to a lot of balls that an ordinary third baseman might miss and he will start a lot of double plays.

Crede’s presence also gives Twins management more flexibility to make another move, if needed, by trading away one of their right-handed outfielders if they don’t perform. The team could conceivably bolster their relief or starting pitching, if a starter falters, by trading away Delmon Young or Michael Cuddyer, both of whom could be on the bubble in a crowded and talented outfield.

Rumors continue to circulate about a potential sign-and-trade deal between the Twins and the Arizona Diamondbacks for reliever Juan Cruz. The key to that deal taking place probably depends on who the D’backs are asking for in exchange.

Even the downside to the transaction could have an upside. If Crede isn’t healthy for the entire season, the Twins still have the backup platoon of Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris to continue to develop. Early reports are that Buscher reported to spring training in great shape, ready to fight for and earn the third base job.

Given that Crede’s agent is Scott Boras, this very well may be a rent-a-player deal if Crede has a good year and demands a lot more money in 2010 to stay with the Twins. But $2.5 million is a fair rental price to pay for a player of Crede’s caliber. And his “rental year” could help take the Twins deep into the playoffs. Not to mention that 2010 will be the opening of the new Target Field, when the Twins should have more revenue to pay deserving players.

So congratulations on showing us you really are awake in that big executive chair, Mr. Smith. Now if you can just see your way to make one more deal for a pitcher, you will make believers of Twins fans that the sun will come up tomorrow and for many days thereafter.

MN Twins Blog Writer: Rick Jourdan
Make sure to catch Rick's column every Monday on!

1 comment:

  1. "Not to mention that 2010 will be the opening of the new Target Field, when the Twins should have more revenue to pay deserving players."

    No doubt! It's sick that the twins don't make any money off the game other than the ticket price. 2010 is going to be an amazing year for the Twinkies.