Posted at 4:10 PM on July 2, 2008
by Chris Dall
As most observers of the Twins have pointed out, the new faces acquired over the winter have been a mixed bag. Mike Lamb has shown why he's always been a part-time player, Adam Everett has been hurt, and Delmon Young has been underwhelming (although he's starting to heat up).
On the face of it, Craig Monroe's stats might indicate that he hasn't been of much use to the Twins. He's hitting .218/.278/.451, he's got a strikeout-to-walk ratio of about 4-1, and he hasn't hit lefties as he's supposed to (6-for-58).
But Monroe has hit some big home runs this year, including a game-tying shot against Kansas City in May, and last night's 3-run shot against his former team. He now has 8 in 133 at bats, putting him third on the team behind Morneau and Kubel in that category. And that's what I like about having him on this team. He gives the Twins a power threat off the bench, something they haven't had in several years. If the Twins can stay in the AL Central race, his presence means they won't have to go out and trade for a bat. Of course, they wouldn't do that anyway, but you get my drift. My only fear is that another team might want him for that very reason, and the Twins, looking to dump salary, will trade him for Drew Butera's younger brother.
Parting shots, part 2
Speaking of Drew Butera, the man he was traded for is having a rough time in New York. Signed to a mind-numbing 4-year, $24 million deal in the offseason, Luis Castillo has been a shadow of his former self. While his offensive numbers aren't awful (.261/.365 with 42 runs scored), his defense has been subpar, and his aching knees make him seem about 5 years older than his actual age. Add to that his at times less-than-stellar effort, and you have a bubbling cauldron of discontent working among Mets fans. Given what we're seeing from Alexi Casilla this year, the Castillo trade isn't looking so bad anymore.
If Monroe continues to torment the his former team the way he has so far this season, his signing could prove to be Bill Smith's best move.