Twins may give oft-injured Crede another year

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While the Twins wait to see whether prospects Danny Valencia or Luke Hughes will emerge as a long-term answer at third base, the Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Joe Christensen reports that they’re considering re-signing Joe Crede to another one-year deal.
When he signed with the Twins last winter Crede was coming off a season in which he played just 97 games because of injuries and hit .248 with 17 homers and a bad on-base percentage.
Now he’s coming off a season in which he played just 90 games because of injuries and hit .225 with 15 homers and a bad on-base percentage. In other words, Crede performed more or less like the Twins should have expected and was ultimately worth the incentive-laden investment with his great defense factored in.
Between his modest .225/.289/.414 production in 367 plate appearances and Ultimate Zone Rating pegging his glove as 12 runs above average Crede was about 20 runs better than a replacement-level third baseman while earning $4 million in total salary. He’s currently recovering from yet another back surgery, but Crede makes about as much sense for the Twins now as he did last offseason and may be even cheaper this time.
When healthy he hits .250 with good power and excellent defense at third base, but he’s missed 234 of a possible 488 games in the past three years. He clearly can’t be counted on for a full season, but Crede isn’t a terrible fallback option for the budget-conscious Twins if they don’t feel that Valencia is quite ready and miss out on free agent third basemen like Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, or Troy Glaus.

Red Sox owner: “spending money helps”

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The other day Rob Manfred said, as he and other owners have said often in the past, that there is no correlation between payroll and winning. He said that defensively, in response to criticism of the slow free agent market of the past two offseasons.

As we have noted in the past, Manfred is not being honest about that. While, yes, in any given year there can be wild variation between payroll and win total — the Giants stunk last year, the A’s won 97 games — common sense dictates otherwise. What’s more, a recent study has shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between winning and payroll over time. Yes, you can fluke into a big season with a low payroll — Deadspin compared it to a cold snap occurring during a time of climate change — but if you want that “sustained success” teams claim they want, the best way to ensure it is to spend more money over time.

If you know anything about baseball labor history, though, you know well that the Commissioner and the owners will continue to mischaracterize the dynamics of the business as it suits them. Mostly because — present lefty sportswriters notwithstanding — very few people push back on their narratives. Fans tend to parrot ownership’s line on this stuff and, more often than not, baseball media acts as stenographer for ownership as opposed to critic. That gives owners a far greater ability to shape the narrative about all of this than most institutions.

Which makes this all the more awkward. From David Schoenfield of ESPN:

In apparent contradiction to his own commissioner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said Monday that, while there is not a perfect correlation between a bigger payroll and winning, “spending more money helps.”

Which is right. The correlation is not perfect — teams can spend a lot of money on a bad team if given the chance and a low payroll team like the Rays can bullpen their way to 90 wins — but you’re way more likely to win year-in, year-out if you’re spending than if you go cheap all the time and hope for a miracle season.

Which is not to say that Henry is some labor activist owner. He and his fellow front office officials have a long history of backing the league office on just about everything that matters and will no doubt do so with labor matters in the runup to the next CBA negotiation. The owners tend not to have a solidarity problem.

But Henry does seem to draw the line at peddling baloney, which is a shockingly necessary thing when the league and the union’s relationship turns acrimonious.