Third baseman Joe Crede is staying in the AL Central for the 2009 season, but leaving the division champions for the runners-up.
A source told ESPN that Crede has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Twins that includes incentives that could raise the value of the deal to $7 million.
The Chicago Tribune first reported the agreement.
Crede played in just 97 games last season for the Chicago White Sox because of back injuries, hitting .248 with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs. He was named to the 2008 All-Star team before injuries derailed his season for a second consecutive year.
In 798 career games, Crede has 125 home runs -- including a career-high 30 in 2006. He is known for being an above-average defensive third baseman.
This is analogous to the situation prior to 2006 when the Twins considered signing slugger Frank Thomas. Unfortunately then GM Terry Ryan balked at the signing, thinking that the oft injured Thomas had little left and thus didn't want to risk the money. So you can imagine the sick feeling the Twins brass had when Thomas went on to hit 39 home runs and drive in 114 for the Oakland Athletics in '06. This was coming of an injury plagued 2005 season where Thomas played in only 34 games for the White Sox, hitting only .219. To add insult to injury, Thomas homered to lead off the scoring in the Athletics-Twins ALCS matchup, a series Oakland won 3-0.
Thankfully, the Twins did not make that mistake again. Crede is a significant upgrade defensively at third base over Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher. And when healthy, Crede averages about 20 home runs per season. That kind of combo platter has not been seen at the hot corner since Gary Gaetti.
Finally I can allow myself some optimism for the Twins' 2009 season.