The Winter Meetings and Craig Monroe

According to reports out of Disney World, Craig Monroe is the Tiger du jour in terms of trade rumors. Jerry Crasnick first mentioned Monroe’s name on Monday. Scott Miller indicated the Dodgers might be interested in Craig. Amy Nelson chimed in and reported that the Orioles asked about Monroe and that the Tigers asked about Nick Markakis.

Jason Beck got in touch with David Dombrowski and DD confirmed that the Orioles initiated discussions this morning, but he wouldn’t confirm it was about Craig Monroe. Basically the Tigers are listening but it sounds like they are pretty much set.

Here’s how I see it. The Tigers probably should trade Craig Monroe. I say this as a fan of Monroe. He’s a decent player, a really likable guy, and from all accounts a great teammate. I don’t really want to see him go anywhere, but he and Thames are duplicative. Marcus Thames won’t be a free agent until 2011 where has Monroe is a free agent in 2009. Both players are the same age but Thames has posted slightly better OBP and SLG numbers (316/491 vs 310/461) than Monroe, granted in a much less playing time. Monroe is faster and appears to have a better arm and cover more ground in the outfield than Thames. However, according to the Probablistic Model of Range Monroe was slightly below average while Thames was marginally above average. I’d say it’s close enough to be a push defensively.

So really, the two players are very much a like. If one of them were left handed the Tigers would have a nifty platoon. But with the addition of Sheffield there just isn’t room for both on the roster. As an arbitration eligible player with decent counting stats and some dramatic homers, Monroe will probably get in the neighborhood of $4 million (give or take a half million). Thames meanwhile will probably make $600,000 or so.

I know the Tigers have said their lineup is set, and that Dombrowski admitted that there isn’t a lot of room for Thames. But if they are looking to move one of their left fielders, it really should probably be Monroe.

Shelton in the plans

Probably the best news is that the Tigers aren’t looking to give away Shelton. I’ve stated before my preferences for Shelton over Casey, and even outside of that if Casey were to get injured (not such a leap) the Tigers would be very much lacking at first base. Without Shelton it would either be a Perez/Santiago platoon or a rapidly promoted Jeff Larish trying to fill his lineup spot.

15 thoughts on “The Winter Meetings and Craig Monroe”

  1. I’m not sure you can have a ‘it’d be better to move player XXX’ conversation without also talking about what they are trying to pick up and who that is.

    If its for a lefty specialist, heck no.

    With their preference of playing Monroe over Thames last year, I do not see them deciding to trade Monroe with the idea in mind of playing Thames in left, unless the deal was sweet.

  2. Right on with both thoughts. Thames has the best HR/AB average on the team…this is a guy who needs AB’s. They became sporadic in the second half as Monroe heated up, but he’s done nothing but produce when given steady playing time. Monroe’s chief advantage over Thames is that he can play CF, but still is below average production for a corner OF. Trade ’em while he’s hot if we can get something for him. It won’t hurt us as a team if he’s not there.
    As for Shelton, I appreciate your defense of him. I argue that he’s produced at every level but fell into the first prolonged slump of his career this season as he became enamored with the long ball and started pulling off the ball in an effort to drive it, rather than staying inside the ball – and his strength – in driving the ball to all fields.
    Hopefully, the off-season will help get his head clear and he’ll get back to what he’s done his entire professional career: hit.
    Casey is stopgap at best…I predect he will not be the starter, one way or another, by August.

  3. Excellent analysis. Agree that trading Monroe for just a left-handed reliever probably doesn’t make sense, but if you could get a left-handed reliever and, say, a left-handed outfielder with some speed, they should do it.

  4. If we get both a lefty reliever and a lefty bat I can’t imagine that either would be particulary good.

    I like just keeping Monroe as the starter and having Thames as depth.

    Also, The Hardball Times has an article that mentions Thames. It claims that he is a good candidate for regressing.

  5. Let me just chime in that we should not part with Monroe. Who – on Baltimore, for example – would we get in return? Walker? That ship has sailed. Craig can and should get better still, and, in many ways, he epitomized the great 2006 Tiger campaign. I know I for one will always remember him like I do Northrup and Horton and those guys. So, please DD, unless you get an offer you just CAN’T pass up, let’s keep Craig around for next year!!! (PS Thanks Billfer, for the chance to keep up on Tiger action during the long, dry off-season! You are THE MAN!)

  6. I say we trade one of our two righthanded hitting leftfielders,but only if we can get another backup middle infielder or DH/rightfielder.

  7. I would do a Monroe for Nick Markakis trade in a heartbeat. Markakis bats LH, plays good D, and has a great upside. He and Thames would be better as a platoon than Monroe by himself.


  8. I am willing to trade any of our players for another player that is younger and better. If Baltimore makes that trade, I want some of what they’re smoking.

  9. We should be able to get a lefty specialist for Thames. I don’t see him getting many abs next year unless there’s an injury. Off the bench is not his strength.

    I’m thinking/hoping that Monroe has a monster season in him, and I think it will be 07. Don’t trade him unless it’s for a left handed outfielder with better tools.

  10. Monroe and Casey for Adam Dunn. No supportive argument. Hoping one of you will do that for me.

  11. Ken – I don’t think the statement needs a supportive argument. It won’t happen, but the Tigers would have to take that if presented with it.

    As for Thames regressing, he certainly may but I don’t necessarily agree with the THT on this one. Thames power didn’t just materialize this year. He had an isolated power of over 400 2 years ago at AAA and 340 in 2005. Yes he was very experienced for the league but the power wasn’t a fluke.

  12. Looks like Matt Stairs found a new home. From ESPN:

    “The Blue Jays are close to signing Matt Stairs to a one-year contract, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations. It’s expected to be announced tomorrow.”

  13. I have to disagree with you, Bill, about Monroe/Thames. Thames has legit power, no question about it. But I think with some players, less is more … meaning with more at bats, I think Thames would be exposed. Last year was probably about as good as its going to get for him, and I don’t believe he’ll come close to duplicating those numbers. As for Monroe, I think he’s a guy on the rise. I would like to see what he could do if he were moved up in the order, fifth or sixth. I think he would consistently drive in 100.

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