After sitting out the entire 2010 season without a contract offer, Joe Crede‘s baseball career looked to be finished. Despite Scott Boras’s best efforts and solid performance in both 2008 and 2009, teams just weren’t willing to risk anything on a player with such chronic injury problems as Crede. But for Crede, patience has proven a virtue. On Wednesday, the Rockies handed Crede a minor league contract, giving the 32-year-old a chance to work his way back into the league.
When Crede was on the field in his last two seasons, he played at a high level. Although his bat left something to be desired from a corner position (.318 wOBA), his defense more than made up for it. Crede compiled a +19 UZR (along with a +21 DRS, +13 TZ, and +16 TZL) in just over 600 plate appearances over that same time frame. Although the typical caveats with defensive statistics apply, there is little doubt that Crede was a fantastic fielder when he was on the field; if he wasn’t at Adrian Beltre‘s level, he was probably close.
Of course, one has to be on the field to accrue value. Even before accounting for the effects injuries could have on his value, it’s clear that Crede’s tendency to take up residency in the training room is what scared teams off last season and has limited him to a minor league deal this year. Here is Crede’s extensive injury log, via his SB Nation player page.
Given that rather extensive history, one can hardly blame teams for keeping any and all guaranteed money away from Crede. But that still doesn’t explain why it took a full year for a team to take a flyer on him. Although Crede’s hallmarks, his defense and power, will be no guarantee given the toll taken on his back since 2007, any team giving a non-roster invite to training camp gets all of March to determine whether or not he can make the team. If Crede has maintained any of his former self, he should serve as excellent Ian Stewart insurance for the Rockies. With Clint Barmes and Melvin Mora both gone this season, the Rockies will need infield depth. Crede will likely be competing with Jose Lopez, Johnathan Herrera, and Chris Nelson for one of the backup infield positions, and given the talent level there, Crede may not have an inside track at a roster spot. Still, this is a no-lose situation for Colorado, and if the talent Crede showed from ’08-’09 is there, he could give the Rockies a valuable 200-300 plate appearances in 2011.
09/14/09 Lower back pain, sidelined indefinitely.
09/08/09 Missed 15 games (sore back).
08/12/09 Missed 4 games (right shoulder soreness).
07/28/09 Missed 6 games (right shoulder injury).
07/21/09 Missed 2 games (sprained right shoulder).
06/30/09 Missed 1 game (back injury).
06/16/09 Missed 1 game (back injury).
06/09/09 Missed 1 game (calf injury).
06/03/09 Missed 2 games (bruised knee).
05/28/09 Missed 3 games (right hand injury).
05/18/09 Missed 2 games (hamstring).
05/12/09 Missed 3 games (hamstring).
10/06/08 Missed the last 25 games of the regular season and 4 playoff games (back injury).
08/25/08 Missed 31 games (back injury).
06/26/08 Missed 2 games (back injury).
06/06/08 Missed 1 game (right wrist injury).
05/06/08 Missed 1 game (headache).
10/01/07 Missed the last 109 games of the regular season (back injury).