Welcome to Minnesota, Joe Crede

It sure didn’t take long for the Twins new third baseman to get a little taste of Minnesota nice.

While Crede was standing alongside the batting cage on one of the fields at the Lee County Sports Complex on Sunday morning and waiting to take his first round of batting practice as a Twin, a fan sitting in the stands yelled out, “Welcome to Minnesota, Joe Crede.” And Crede responded with a wave of his bat and a head nod in the man’s direction.

Crede looked good during his first workout with the club. Many people commented on what a “big” guy Crede is, a statement based upon the third baseman’s athletic-build stature. He certainly looks like a ballplayer and if you didn’t know that he’d had back issues, you wouldn’t have been able to tell by Sunday’s workout.

I spent quite a bit of time around Crede while I was an MLB.com intern in Chicago during the ’05 season (yes, Twins fans, I spent a year writing about the White Sox — although I did spend time reporting on the Cubs and Brewers that season too). He’s a quiet and humble guy from Missouri who possesses a very strong work ethic. If there was a player who fits perfectly into the Twins clubhouse, it’s Crede. By watching Crede joke around with Justin Morneau during their BP
session and fist pumping with pitcher Joe Nathan, it’s easy to see that
he’ll mix right in with the group.

As for my initial thoughts on the move, it appears to be a great nab for the Twins. Considering that the Twins paid $6.6 million to Mike Lamb for 81 games last season, the $2.5 million guaranteed to Crede seems like a very low risk. Crede has shown to make some spectacular plays at third. And if he can stay healthy and produce a similar season to the one he had in 2006 when he recorded 30 homers and 94 RBIs, Crede would be well worth the $7 million he could earn.

Other news from the day:

  • I watched Corey Koskie take batting practice on one of the back fields of the Twins’ complex on Sunday. Koskie certainly has come a long way in his recovery and it appears he’s reached another big step — making Team Canada for this year’s World Baseball Classic. Although he wasn’t on Canada’s provisional roster, Koskie will join the team when camp opens on March 2 at the Blue Jays facility in Dunedin, Fla.

  • Gardenhire said he hasn’t yet considered how he might structure the lineup now with the addition of Crede. There seems to be a number of ways he could slot Crede into that group — and it would be interesting to hear all of your thoughts on what the Twins batting order might look like for Opening Day.

Restaurant of the Day: Patinella’s Chicken Grill.   Okay so this isn’t your typical sitdown restaurant (more like healthy fast food) but it’s one of the favorites of the Twins beat writers and also the team’s players and coaches. Located in the Plantation Shoppes, just down the street from the ballpark, it features a number of chicken and rice and gyro dishes. The #3 with yellow rice is one of my favorites. I would label this a must-visit place for anyone visiting Fort Myers.

9 Comments

I’m glad to see Joe off the White Sox. My only concern is now he is on your team and thus remains in the AL Central. Best of luck to you, the Twins, and Joe. Although I hope we can slow you and Joe down, I know it will not be easy.
Aaron
http://mlbtribefan.mlblogs.com

I lie awake at night and think about this. I’d love to give this a try for awhile:
1. Spann
2. Mauer
3. Crede
4. Mourneau
5. Kubel
6. Young
7. Cuddy
8. Punto
9. Casillia

With Gomez able to come as a speed guy/defense, I would love to watch this lineup. I think Gardy has tons of flexibility now!

I’ve always felt Mauer would be a great #2 hitter, but I don’t see Crede as a #3. I know Gardy likes to do the ‘left-right-left-right’ thing when he can, but I’d be in favor of just sliding Mauer and Morneau up from 3-4 to 2-3 and slotting whichever RH hitter from the group of Crede, Young and Cuddyer who’s showing the most power coming out of ST in the clean-up spot.

I can’t go along with ‘nick’ on playing Young and Cuddyer on a normal basis, just because I think it turns a good defensive outfield in to, at best, a mediocre one. I’d go more like:

Span
Mauer
Morneau
Crede
Kubel
Cuddyer/Young
Punto
Gomez
Casilla

Span
Casilla
Mauer
Morneau
Crede
Cuddyer
Young
Kubel
Punto

I’m no expert, but I’d like:

Span
Casilla
Mauer
Morneau
Crede
Kubel
Cuddyer/Young (Though I like Cuddyer better)
Punto
Gomez

I’m just pumped that we finally have a team that is worth talking about in a positive light during the preseason. I am really excited about the signing of Crede. I think we finally have a lineup that can compete.

The only area I would love to see us improve is the bullpen. It would be great if we could workout a deal for Cruz. I feel like we have a lefty in Mijares that could lock down Reyes’ role and then some.

I can’t wait for the start of the season…hopefully we can stay healthy.

i’d like to see the batting line-up look like this

span
casilla
mauer
crede
morneau
dh kubel/cuddyer/young
young/cuddyer
punto
gomez

and if crede isn’t producing enough then

span
casilla
mauer
morneau
crede
kube/cuddyer/young
young/cuddyer
punto
gomez

It is exciting to read the enthusiasm and varied batting orders preferred by fan base… this is symptomatic of optimism! Great. But does anyone else have concern about his back????? They pay Mike Lamb(chop) $6.6 mil for an average career, platoon player, NEVER having played regularly against lefties, but Bill Smith saw through the veneer that was his established weaknesses and played him as full-time and he was perhaps the biggest bust free agent in my lifetime of twins fandom. But Crede, gold glove caliber, big bat potential, and he could not get better deal than guaranteed $2.5 mil? Doesn’t that make anyone concerned? Does me. Curious anyway! So now my HOPE is his back is completely healthy and the caution the league has shown, the unwillingness to sign him, is ill founded and we get the player he used to be. If that, then I am VERY excited and we have a line-up of many permutations and ALL can do damage for a change! THAT woud finally be the big bat cure to #5 spot we have been searching for years.

mauer(will get on base and start game off with atleast a run)
gomez(bunt for hit when mauer is on,if out still gets sac)
morneau
crede
kubel
cuddyer
span
casilla
punto

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