Craig Monroe Rumors
According to Bob Dutton of the KC Star, the Twins are in the market for a second baseman. Alexi Casilla has a serious thumb injury. Dutton mentions Mark Grudzielanek, Rich Aurilia, and Brian Roberts as possibilities. Roberts, however, may be off the market. Dutton says the Twins could use Boof Bonser and Craig Monroe as bait.
Here's a look at the trade market for second basemen.
Some random tidbits for you; I may add to this post if I find a few more.
- RotoAuthority analyzes the hottest fantasy baseball pickups from this week.
- The Twins completed the Craig Monroe deal by sending 25 year-old outfielder Doug Deeds to the Cubs. He looks like a long shot to make the Majors. Monroe hasn't looked like much of a big leaguer lately, either.
- Richard Justice notes that the Cardinals targeted Miguel Tejada this winter but couldn't get it done. As if they needed any more steroid stigma. It's interesting to see the Tejada deal looking so good for Baltimore, without Troy Patton factoring in at all.
- I did a fantasy baseball mailbag over at The Hardball Times.
FROM 12-11-07 at 4:49pm:
A brief note, the Twins have signed outfielder Craig Monroe. They were planning on non-tendering him if they couldn't get him to sign for '08 at less than the $4.8MM he earned in '07.
It's hard to figure out where exactly Monroe fits in now that the Twins have Delmon Young. He's kind of too pricey to be a bench guy but there's no clear starting role for him.
UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 7:30pm: This thing hasn't gone through yet because of concerns over Rincon's elbow. The deal will either be finalized or killed by Thursday, according to Scott Miller. The trade has been in the works for a few days.
UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 4pm: Neal reports that the Twins have interest in Aaron Rowand, which is really surprising given his reported demands. I don't see it. Neal adds that Craig Monroe may now be non-tendered and the Garza trade will not stop Bill Smith from shopping Johan Santana. By the way, talks for Coco Crisp persist.
FROM 11-28-07 at 2pm:
Wow! That rumor really didn't die! La Velle E. Neal III says the Twins are close to a multiplayer deal. They'll send Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Juan Rincon to the Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie. I can't remember any kind of young player blockbuster like this recently.
It's exciting to see Bill Smith pull the trigger on a deal to get that possible elite slugger. Will he be more hesitant to trade Johan Santana now? Or maybe it doesn't matter since he'd require an elite young hurler like Phil Hughes in return. Beyond Young, you also have to applaud Smith for getting Pridie, who immediately becomes the Twins' center fielder of the future. The 24 year-old came back from injuries this year to rake in Triple A. Just like that, the Twins have an outfield.
Meanwhile the Rays suddenly have an awesome young trio fronting their rotation in Scott Kazmir, Jamie Shields, and Garza. Rincon's ability is questionable at this point but he could be the setup man the Rays are craving.
I'll give the advantage to the Twins but I like this deal for both teams.
Rounding up some of today's rumors...
- The Phillies have had conversations about Randy Wolf and Bartolo Colon. It's assumed they have about $10MM to spend.
- The Rockies are talking to Michael Barrett's agent. They've also got some interest in Mike Maroth. He doesn't seem like a great match. LaTroy Hawkins hasn't had any recent discussions with the Rockies, and other teams are knocking on his door (including the Brewers).
- The White Sox may look to Japan for relief help. They've been linked to Yasuhiko Yabuta in the past.
- Richard Griffin notes that the Blue Jays pursued Matt Clement three years ago, and they could go after him again now. I'm guessing Clement will opt for San Diego though.
- Sabernomics interviewed ESPN's Keith Law. I chatted with Keith back in July, if you're interested.
- The Cubs only get a player from the Twins for Craig Monroe if the Twins can strike a deal with him. And the Twins won't be going to arbitration with Monroe.
UPDATE: The deal is official.
This is odd: Joe Christensen reports that the Cubs may send Craig Monroe to the Twins for a player to be named later, perhaps today. For the Cubs, getting something for Monroe is gravy since they would non-tender him otherwise. I guess the Twins like the idea of Monroe on a one-year, $5MM commitment as opposed to the free agent options in left field.
I wonder if any other non-tender candidates might be moved? Guys like Ben Broussard, Joe Crede, Morgan Ensberg, Kevin Mench, Mark Prior, Josh Towers, and Claudio Vargas are possibilities.
Tim mentioned in this post that fielding know-it-all John Dewan thinks Barry Bonds can still play a tolerable outfield. Well, Bob Nightengale has broken the rumor-ice and brought two NL teams into the "Where Will Bonds Play Next" game:
Chicago and Florida.
The Cubbies, heavy in right handed hitters, would love a bat like Bonds' in the lineup. They probably have the money, though they'll add $10MM in payroll for '08 just to maintain the current group. With Bonds' regular need for time off, there'd still be plenty of playing time for Matt Murton.
Bonds, meanwhile, just may be the apple of Jeffrey Loria's eye. The Florida Marlins owner was fined by the commissioners office last year for flying Bonds to New York in his personal jet. But if the Fish deal Dontrelle Willis in the offseason, it'd be hard to convince Bonds that they're a serious contender.
Today, the Cubs acquired outfielder Craig Monroe and cash considerations for a player to be named later. Monroe has approximately $1.06MM left on his contract for 2007.
The 30 year-old outfielder enjoyed a career season in '06, smacking 28 homers and knocking in 92. As a right-handed hitter he's typically better off facing southpaws. It'd be nice to platoon him with Jacque Jones if he can handle center field. Monroe played eight games there last year and 33 the year before. More likely, he'll be employed in right field once Alfonso Soriano returns. Jake Fox seems to be the odd man out for the Cubs.
The Cubs are hoping the change of scenery will coincide with a decent offensive rebound, similar to their Jason Kendall acquisition. Over in the AL, Monroe had been equally awful as Kendall (.222/.264/.373). Monroe isn't set to reach free agency until after the '08 season, though the Cubs could nontender him rather than pay the $5MM or so he'd get in arbitration.
Side note - I was surprised to see Jayson Stark write today that "it would be a shock" if the Cubs don't nontender Mark Prior this winter. Given the price and dearth of starting pitching, why not cough up the $3.5MM to see how Prior looks post-surgery?
Ken Rosenthal has a new column up; here are some rumor-related points of interest.
- As you know, it doesn't make sense for the Yankees to keep both Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon around for 2008. It's just not an efficent way to spend $29MM. Rosenthal says Damon would be open to waiving his no-trade clause, if the Yankees struck a deal with a team that fell under his 12-team protection. Damon is apparently open to regular playing time on teams not located on the West Coast. The White Sox, Phillies, Braves, or Astros might make sense, in my opinion. The Yanks' ability to pull an exercise-and-trade with Abreu's 2008 option is hindered by his full no-trade protection.
- Rosenthal believes the Blue Jays might aggressively shop Troy Glaus this winter. Glaus surprisingly cleared waivers recently. Glaus is holding all the cards - he has a full no-trade clause and a player option for 2009.
- The Rockies will pass on David Wells, but the Dodgers are still interested. The Rox might still go for Steve Trachsel if they opt for experience over potential.
- Craig Monroe seems to be an option for second-tier clubs, especially if he becomes a free agent. The Giants will pass.
The Tigers shook up their roster today, DFAing outfielder Craig Monroe and calling up 20 year-old top prospect Cameron Maybin. They also sent Omar Infante to Triple A in favor of Ramon Santiago. Apparently they wanted more of a "true shortstop" to back up Carlos Guillen. You never know, a Jack Wilson deal could still be in the works. Wilson has cleared waivers.
Monroe makes $4.775MM this year, so he's a nontender candidate for his new team this winter. It's unknown whether he's been placed on or has cleared waivers, which would have to precede a trade. The 30 year-old has been plagued by knee and back problems; he was stellar in May and awful otherwise. The Pirates and Cubs have been linked to Monroe in the past.
As for Maybin, his call-up was quite a surprise given his lack of high minors experience. Check out the fantasy take over at RotoAuthority.