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?