As most of you now know by now, the Cubs traded OF
Craig Monroe to the Minnesota Twins today for a PTBNL. The Cubs also reactivated RHPs
Angel Guzman (TJ elbow surgery) and
Mark Prior (shoulder surgery) from the 60-day DL (MLB clubs have until November 20th to reactivate players from the 15-day and 60-day DL), bringing the Cubs MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster") up to 38 players, and leaving two slots open.
The Cubs have until next Tuesday to add minor league players eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft to the 40-man roster, although it's doubtful that any of the Rule 5 eligibles will be added. The two open slots on the 40 will instead likely be kept available for free-agents the Cubs might sign (or in the case of
Kerry Wood, re-sign) in the next few days and weeks.
The Cubs acquired Monroe from DET for LHP
Clay Rapada on August 23rd in a stretch-drive trade, in a desire to add an experienced right-handed power-hitting OF to the roster, but he did not swing the bat very well and was left off the Cubs post-season roster, instead spending his days taking BP at Fitch Park in Mesa. Prior to being traded, Monroe had been Designated for Assignment by the Tigers.
Monroe was one of five Cubs players eligible for salary arbitration this off-season (
Michael Wuertz, and newly-acquired
Omar Infante being the others), but with a 2007 salary of $4.775M, the very least Monroe could have made in 2008 if he had been offered salary arbitration by the Cubs was $3.82M, and that's only if he received the maximum allowable 20% cut. And the Cubs weren't about to pay Monroe that kind of money (or possibly a lot more if Monroe won in arbitration) to be a 4th OF and RHPH.
So if the Cubs hadn't traded Monroe, they almost certainly would have non-tendered him on December 12th, making him a FA, and getting nothing back for him. They might have then offered him a 2008 minor league contract for around $1M with an NRI to ST, but I doubt that Monroe would have been interested in that type of arrangement. Now at least the Cubs will get something back for Monroe (or Rapada, depending on how you look at it), even if it's just a middling minor league prospect.
CUBS 40-MAN ROSTER
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Neal Cotts (eligible for salary arbitration)
Mark Prior (eligible for salary arbitration)
Michael Wuertz (eligible for salary arbitration)
Geovany Soto (out of minor league options)
Ronny Cedeno (out of minor league options)
Omar Infante (eligible for salary arbitration)
POTENTIAL FREE-AGENTS AFTER 2008
Henry Blanco (vesting option or else club option with buy-out for 2009)
Mark Prior (eligible for salary arbitration after 2007)
SIGNED BEYOND 2008
Mark DeRosa (through 2009)
Jason Marquis (through 2009)
Derrek Lee (through 2010)
Ted Lilly (through 2010)
Aramis Ramirez (through 2010, player option for 2011, and mutual option for 2012)
Jeff Samardzija (thru 2011 + mutual options for 2012 and 2013)
Carlos Zambrano (through 2012, plus vesting-player option for 2013)
Alfonso Soriano (through 2014)
PROJECTED ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY-ARBITRATION POST-2008
Rich Hill (projected 2+149 after 2008 - likely “Super Two”)
Sean Marshall (projected 2+132 after 2008 – could be a “Super Two”)
Angel Pagan (projected 2+143 after 2008 – likely “Super Two”)
NOTE: Calculations based on each player spending entire 2008 season on Cubs major league 25-man active roster or MLB DL.
MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS
(SPRING TRAINING 2008):
* Must clear Optional Assignment Waivers to be optioned to minors
NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT
ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT
* Neal Cotts
* Angel Guzman
* Michael Wuertz
TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT
* Omar Infante
THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT