Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Twins trade PTBNL for Craig Monroe

The Twins acquired arbitration-eligible LF Craig Monroe from the Cubs today for a player to be named. Monroes stats over the last three years (avg, obp, slug):

vs left: 281/332/481
vs right: 244/289/425

Monroe is what my friend Bobby O. calls an anti-Twin, right up there with Jim Gantner in the legends of Twin-killers. Monroe batted only .219 in 2007, and his plate discipline is modest, but as long as he's hit well against the Twins, that's all we need to know.

Actually, the PTBNL is likely nothing, and this move doesn't as of yet cost the Twins anything. In fact there are reasons to like this addition:

1. The Cubs would have dumped Monroe.

2. The Twins would have had to compete with some other clubs to sign him.

3. Therefore, the PTBNL isn't anybody of consequence...likely just some organizational filler. Consider that it might be a player the equivalent of the Twins 80th best prospect. The Twins have traded a PTBNL before (think Bret Boone) that turned out to be cash instead, and they've received them before (think Bobby Kielty) that turned out to be Dave Gassner.

4. The Twins *do not* have to offer Monroe arbitration.

5. The Twins have a month or whatever to ask Monroe's agent what he expects to get this coming year if he's a free agent and convince him that a 1 yr, 3.5 million contract with a team option at $5 million ($0.5-$1 mil buyout) for 2009 is the safe route.

6. If they can't come to an agreement, then they non-tender him, losing nothing (usually, the PTBNL is determined by some result down the road).

Negatively, the Twins aren't in much of a position to add a 4th OFer at 3-5 million, so you can expect Monroe to play far more than he should. Platooning with Kubel some and getting a few DH ABs is great, but the extra ABs he gets after that will hurt the Twins (though not RonDL-like).

Overall, given that it's the Twins making this move (i.e., they won't pay him to get 200 PAs), this is not a good addition for a club lean on finances that wants to compete in 2008. On the bright side, Monroe at his worst is *still* better than Lew Ford and Rondell White.

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