FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Minnesota Twins and free agent Joe Crede have agree to terms on a incentive-laden, one-year deal with a base salary of $2.5 million that could be worth as much as $7 million if the third baseman reaches certain levels of plate appearances, CBSSports.com has learned.
The deal comes after weeks of talking and after the Twins -- and other major-league clubs -- watched Crede work out multiple times to assess the condition of his chronically bad back. Minnesota wasn't taking any chances. By the time he agreed to terms, Crede, sources say, passed three different physical examinations.
The move is designed to add pop to a lineup that ranked last in the American League in home runs in 2008. Only two Twins had 20 or more homers last season -- Justin Morneau (23) and Jason Kubel (20). Only three Twins even reached double digits in homers -- Morneau, Kubel and Delmon Young (10).
Crede, who will turn 31 on April 26, had 17 homers and 55 RBI last season while playing in only 97 games for the Chicago White Sox. He is three years removed from his career year, when he slugged 30 homers, collected 94 homers and batted .283 in 2006.
The deal is expected to be announced later Saturday, and Crede is expected to arrive in time for Sunday's workout.
"Man, he's been killing us for a long time," Minnesota's All-Star catcher, Joe Mauer, said Saturday morning while waiting for the news to become official. "It will be good to see him on our side. He's a great player. There are some guys in here who know him better than I do, and they say he's a class guy and a hard worker. I think he'll fit right in."
"If he stays healthy, he's one of the best third basemen in the American League, as far as I'm concerned," Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer said. "In my opinion, he's definitely a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman. And he'll be able to provide som pop."