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Williams Setting Stage for Crede's Exit

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 18, 2008 4:00PM

2008_02_crede.jpgHow many times have we seen this? A player seems likely headed out of town, and Kenny Williams begins the smear campaign against that player and his agent in order to shift blame. He did so to Magglio Ordonez after the 2004 season. And there were numerous comments suggesting that Mark Buehrle was set on signing with his hometown Cardinals as a free agent, only to see the Sox's Ace sign a longterm extension last season. But had he been traded, that would have made Mark look like the bad guy, right?

Then given Williams's recent comments about third baseman Joe Crede, he might as well keep his gear packed up because he's not going to be in Sox camp very long. With manager Ozzie Guillen naming Josh Fields his starting third baseman, the break-up is looking inevitable.

Kenny WIlliams has mentioned on a number of occasions to the press that he tried to discuss an extension with Crede and his agent, Scott Boras, last season and during the off-season. But they wouldn't listen, even with Crede trying to return from back surgery that limited him to 47 games. "I was told point blank that he was going to be taken into free agency and there was no interest in that discussion," Williams told the media.

Crede denies ever being offered a long-term deal, "I was never offered any amount of money of an extended number of years from the White Sox, Kenny, no one,’’ Crede told the Sun-Times. “You can’t sign a long-term deal if it’s not there.’’

Now there certainly is some wiggle room between those statements -- the Sox GM could have talked to Crede's agent to see if they'd be interested in trying to work out a deal, but never having gotten to that point no deal was offered.

Or Williams is looking to make Crede the scapegoat when he gets shipped off to San Fran or someplace else for a couple of prospects in coming weeks. His insistence that Fields would definitely not play the outfield in '08 at SoxFest suggests that Crede was never in their plans for this coming season. And why would you try to extend a player who's not in your plans?

The team can't justify paying somebody riding the bench $5 million -- especially given his lack of versatility. They plan to carry an extra pitcher, meaning the reserves need to be able to fill in at multiple positions. While officially Crede is still in the hunt to win the third base job, we doubt that Fields is going anywhere. They're not going to trade him, and they can't send him back to the minors after he hit 23 home runs in 100 games last year. Dealing Crede seems to be their only option. If only Williams would be a man and admit it.

Photo by AP