With Alfonso Soriano and Angel Pagan on the disabled list, the National League Central-leading Cubs have sought an outfielder who can hit lefthanders. They made a deal for one on Thursday, acquiring Craig Monroe from the Tigers for a player to be named plus cash toward his $4.775 million salary. Detroit acquired Triple-A lefthander Clay Rapada to complete the deal on Aug. 30.
The Big Leaguers
Monroe, 30, hit a career-high 28 homers in 2006 for the American League champions before slumping this year. He has batted just .222/.264/.373 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs in 99 games. He has remained effective against southpaws, though, hitting .302/.317/.542 in 102 plate appearances. Most of Monroe’s value come from his power, as he doesn’t excel in any other area. Eligible for arbitration after the season, he’s a career .258/.303/.448 hitter in 699 games.
Rapada, 26, signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Virginia State in 2002. He has spent most of the year at Triple-A Iowa, going 7-2, 3.58 with 17 saves in 55 appearances. He has a 50-25 K-BB ratio in 55 innings, while opponents have hit .272 with four homers against him. Rapada projects as a situational lefty, as he relies on deception and a low arm angle to get hitters out. His best pitch is a high-80s sinker, and he backs it up with a slider and changeup, both of which are fringy as well. Rapada made his lone big league appearance on June 14, retiring the one batter he faced in a 5-4 win over the Mariners.
The Cubs have soured on Matt Murton and haven’t been overly impressed with Jake Fox, and in Monroe they should have an effective platoon partner to Cliff Floyd and Jacque Jones. The Tigers had designated Monroe for assignment to make room for Cameron Maybin, so they’ll be happy to get a middling prospect for someone who no longer fit their plans.