By Joe Christensen
Craig Monroe signed a one-year, $3.82 million contract with the Twins today and can make up to $155,000 in incentives if he reaches 450 plate appearances. He would also receive $25,000 if he is named comeback player of the year.
This is a non-guaranteed contract, however. That means, the Twins could technically release Monroe during spring training, without having to pay the bulk of that salary. Everyone is hoping it doesn’t come to this, but if the Twins were to release Monroe up until 16 days before the start of the season, they would only pay him one-sixth of his salary, or $636,667.
Once he makes the Opening Day roster, the full contract becomes guaranteed. If they were to cut him after the 16-day mark but before Opening Day, Monroe would get one-fourth of his salary, or $955,000.
Monroe made $4.775 million last season, and his new contract represents a 20 percent pay cut, which is the most a team can cut a player with his level of service time under the terms of the basic agreement.
Those are technical details, but Twins GM Bill Smith sounded genuinely excited to have Monroe in the fold, even after trading for Delmon Young.
“We wouldn’t have signed Craig Monroe if we didn’t think he would get enough at-bats,” Smith said. “We think there will be enough at-bats for Monroe, Young, [Jason] Kubel and [Michael] Cuddyer. They are all going to be critical parts of our offense in 2008.”
Note: As I wrote in my previous post, the player to be named in the Monroe trade with the Cubs won’t be a notable prospect. The teams have until May 1 to finalize the deal, and it’s not expected to be a significant transaction when it happens. We’ll keep you posted, but several of you have asked, and I wouldn’t expect it to be anything more than a warm body from the minor leagues.