The hot name to fill the Yankee 3B hole has been Joe Crede. While I fully expect the Yankees to kick the tires on Crede, don’t expect a deal for him to be imminent. First off, he is arbitration eligible and there is a chance the White Sox might not tender him a contract and he will become a free agent. The deadline for this is December 12th.
The name that has been linked to Crede is Johnny Damon. This scenario would make sense because the Yankees do have an extra outfielder now that Abreu has been retained, and the White Sox really have no use for Crede. However, the Yankees would probably need more in this deal. The rumors have had the Yanks even including money to offset Damon’s 13 million a year pricetag. However, Damon is not really all that overpaid at this point. As I’ve mentioned in this space before, Damon on a 2 year, $26 million deal is a pretty good investment compared to breaking the bank on Rowand, Hunter, or a declining Andruw Jones. Also, despite having a poor year last year, Damon still had an .351 OBP. Crede had an OBP of .323 in 2006, his last full season, and best season as a pro.
I like the idea of going after Crede, depending on what else is available. He is a tremendous defensive player and has power from the right side (30HRs and .506 SLG in 2006). While he is obviously not an OBP machine, the Yankees will have the likes of Abreu and Giambi in the lineup. And Wilson Betemit would make for a fine sub against tough righties. We’ll just have to see if the price is right. If the Yankees are giving up Damon and money, they should expect a prospect or two as well, especially if outfielders remain in high demand.