Surely you have all heard by now that the Twins traded "a player to be named later" to the Cubs for Craig Monroe today. Now, I am going to go ahead and assume that "the player to be named later" is a 19 year old 15th round pick that is buried in the rookie leagues somewhere. If that assumption is true (and it better be) than the Twins really did not give up anything here. Any players anyway.
What did they give up? Salary room. Monroe's salary last season was $4.8 million (that's right, $4.8 million for Craig freaking Monroe, if that isn't an example of everything (sans steroids) that is wrong with baseball, then I don't know what is) - $4.8 million last season and is eligible for a raise through abritration, so he will probably end up making around $5.2 million this season. According the Strib, the Twins have about $25 million in salary 'wiggle room', for 2008. That means that the Twins just wasted 20% (or more) of their wiggle room on Craig freakin' Monroe. If they resign Hunter, they will then have $5 million leftover. That might just be enough to overspend on Corey Patterson or Mike Lamb.
Now this would not be the end of the world, if Craig Monroe was a very good baseball player, but he is not a very good baseball player, he is a very medicore baseball player. The only reason we have ever heard of him is because we are Twins fans, and he consistently rips into Twins pitching at the Dome (but who doesn't?), no one else in the league has ever heard of him.
According to Retrosheet, hitters with comparable stats include Austin Kearns, Jay Gibbons, David Delluci, and some dude named Nick Esasky. Monroe's lifetime on-base-percentage is .303. That is so awful it transcends words. (The league median usually hovers around .350). Five million dollars for a guy that cannot even get on base.
His lifetime batting average is (you might want to sit down for this one) .256.
His "career year" was, of course, 2006, when the Tigers went to the World Series. He played in 142 games, batted .255, had a .301 OBP, and struck out 126 times. Terrible. This guy is a right handed hitting Jacque Jones. A right-handed hitting Jacque Jones that the Twins are going to give $5 million next season.
Oh, and he is 31 years old - thereby I guaran-freaking-tee you that he has lost AT LEAST a step or two on defense. Now, to be fair details on the financial aspects of the trade have yet to come out, so we can only hope that the Cubs, or even the Tigers, will be on the hook for at least some of the five million dollars he will be getting next year to not get on base, strike out 125+ times, take weird routes to fly balls, and generally be not very good at baseball.
Congratulations, Mr. Twins General Manager, you are a first class idiot.