TUCSON, Ariz. – It didn’t take long for the camp’s first controversy to show itself.
General manager Ken Williams stated on several occasions late last year and over the winter that the White Sox had reached out to Joe Crede and his agent Scott Boras about signing a contract extension to stay on the South Side.
The idea behind it for the club was a show of faith that Crede’s back would bounce back from season-ending surgery last year, as well as giving the free agent-to-be some security in what was a cloudy time for him.
Well, now there seems to be two versions of the story, with Crede arriving into camp on Saturday – given clearance by Major League Baseball to arrive early because of his comeback from the injury.
According to Crede, who has signed a series of one-year deals to avoid arbitration each offseason, no multi-year deal was ever on the table.
“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. That’s the business side of baseball.’’
The business side of baseball is also one in which trade rumors take on a new life each and every day. Crede is no stranger to that, especially with good friend – and former Sox outfielder – Aaron Rowand now playing in San Francisco, and the Giants needing a third baseman with some pop.
While Crede did admit to speaking to Rowand within the last few days, he maintained that it wasn’t a recruiting conversation in which the outfielder was playing GM.
“I’ve never really talked to him about [coming there in a trade],’’ Crede said. “It’s more about him and what he does in the winter … trying not to get hurt.
“Yeah, the rumor is there, but I’m taking the approach of being here and playing the full year in Chicago. I think I’m playing here this year.’’
That remains to be seen.