02/22/09 5:15 PM EST
Guillen addresses Crede's departure
Sox manager clarifies former third baseman's recent statements
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Well, most of Guillen's comments were of the positive nature.
Guillen actually made one pointed clarification when informed about Crede's response to a question concerning his surprise over things not working out in Chicago.
Crede said he understood the White Sox way of thinking, with top young players such as Josh Fields and Dayan Viciedo coming up behind him at third base. The White Sox manager, on the other hand, disputed the youthful line of reasoning for Crede's exit.
"We're no go younger at third base; we offered Joe Crede a three-year deal, a four-year deal, a couple of years ago," said Guillen with a knowing smile. "This would be the second or third year in his contract if he signed with us. We didn't go younger, we went good.
"I think when you are younger, then we have [Tyler] Flowers catching, [Paul] Konerko DH-ing, the Cuban kid [Dayan Viciedo] playing third base. We aren't going young, we are putting the team there that's best for the ballclub. If Joe Crede was healthy for us last year, that makes a lot of difference."
These remarks from Guillen certainly weren't meant as harsh criticism toward Crede, and to make things perfectly clear, there was no specific contractual offer made to Crede as Guillen stated. In September 2007, while Crede was recovering from season-ending back surgery, Fields was temporarily in left field and the team was in Detroit, White Sox general manager Ken Williams called Scott Boras, Crede's representative, about the possibility of working out an extension.
Williams was told that Crede preferred to play out the last year of his contract in 2008 and then test the free-agent market. With Fields having proven himself ready for the big leagues and Crede coming off back issues that limited him to two games in September during last year's All-Star campaign, the White Sox moved in a different direction.
"Not because we went young," Guillen said, "but because we were counting on him four years ago to be in this lineup this year."
Where Crede's back is concerned, specifically in regard to handling the Metrodome turf over 81 games, Guillen truly believes Crede must be close to 100 percent healthy to have signed this deal. Guillen added that he loved Crede and pointed out how the only time he witnessed Williams quickly turn angry with a fan was when a young man criticized Crede at SoxFest, '09.
Both sides seemingly will have to agree to disagree over why Crede's career in Chicago didn't continue on into its 10th season and beyond.
"They had a lot of good prospects coming up at third base," said Crede from Florida. "It was their time to make their impact on the big leagues. It was just a business decision, that's the way I look at it. You have young guys coming up and are ready to go, playing a couple of years in Triple-A. It was their time. I was in the same position they were."
"To Joe, I love him and his family and I know you are going to play bad for them," said Guillen with a hearty laugh. "We took a chance with Joe, even with Josh Fields having 23 home runs, and Fields took it the right way. It's too bad [Crede] couldn't play for us the last couple of years."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.