Craig Monroe’s career has been puzzling. As part of a leftfield platoon for the Tigers, he exploded onto the scene in 2003 by mashing 23 homeruns as a 26 year old. He patrolled all of Detroit’s outfield spots over the next three years, batting in the back half of their order as an all-power, no-average slugger. After his excellent postseason performance in 2006, he appeared to be a part of the Tiger’s future plans. However, after a slow start in 2007, the Tigers cut ties and Monroe was traded to the Cubs, the start of a string of trades that have characterized his dwindling career since then.
Now a member of the Pissburgh Pirates, Monroe has absolutely murdered Grapefruit League pitchers this Spring Training. Yesterday, the journeyman outfielder crushed his eighth dinger, tying a Pirate’s spring record.
Monroe is no spring chicken at 32 years old and he hasn’t had a full-time job since 2006. Still, the 30-homer upside is there and with a horrible club like the Pirates, he could have a chance to play. If rookie newcomer Brandon Moss falters as the team’s Opening Day right fielder or last season’s injury flares up, Monroe could share time there with the resurgent Erik Hinske. The Pirate’s left field situation is no less certain as Nyjer Morgan has never played in more than 60 games and lacks seasoning. At some point, he could be worth a pickup if you’re desperate in the power department.
A question for the reader: do you start Craig Monroe everyday in the hopes that he brings your team 20-30 homeruns, 90 RBI, and a .240 average? Or do you keep platooning and pinch-hitting him?