What Can Be Done With Allen Craig?

by Mark Gallant | Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2015
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Ever since his May demotion to Pawtucket, there has been little to no mention of Allen Craig. The outfielder/first baseman, who recently turned 31, was a feared hitter with the St. Louis Cardinals on the team that the Red Sox defeated in the 2013 World Series. Now, he is an everyday player in AAA who is not even on the 40-man roster. Craig, who’s set to make $20 million over the next two seasons, isn’t playing well enough to force the Red Sox to give him another chance with the big club, but just like with Jackie Bradley and Rusney Castillo, there needs to be a “tryout” before next season.

When John Lackey was traded for Craig and Joe Kelly, I thought the Red Sox got a great return for an aging pitcher. Craig, who was struggling at the time, was coming off three straight seasons of hitting over .300. Kelly, on the other hand, was a young flamethrower who had his fair share of success in St. Louis, himself. They certainly didn’t seem like players that were going to be demoted to the minors the following season, but that is just what happened.

Now with 66 games under his belt at Pawtucket, Craig hasn’t exactly found his old swing. Batting just .266 with an OPS of .710, it’s not as if Craig is knocking at the Red Sox door, but there’s also not really a point to keeping the veteran in AAA. Since he is off the 40-man roster, he would need to go through waivers to be placed back on it. However, no teams claimed him on his initial demotion and there’s no reason to believe that a team would want his current performance at that price tag.

With Mike Napoli‘s name still being mentioned in rumors, the Red Sox may be waiting on a possible waiver trade to make room for Craig at first base. Since Daniel Nava was designated for assignment, Brock Holt and Travis Shaw are the only players left to back up Napoli. However, with Dustin Pedroia back on the DL, Holt’s main job will be at second base, leaving an opportunity for Craig at first. The depth in the Red Sox outfield, combined with Craig’s poor speed, could make him a permanent first baseman from now on.

If Craig wasn’t set to make so much money, this issue wouldn’t be as pressing. However, the Red Sox need to give him an extended chance and see if he can at least put up decent numbers at the plate while the season winds down. You don’t often see an established hitter lose it all by his 30th birthday, but that has been the case with Craig. In the past year’s time, he has had 166 plate appearances at the major league level in Boston and hasn’t come close to hitting his weight. Just 19-146 (.130) with five extra base hits to be precise.

Luckily for Craig, the Red Sox are in a situation where they can take a chance on a terribly declining hitter like himself. It’s just one of many steps that need to be taken to get ready for 2016.

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Mark Gallant
About the Author

Mark has contributed to isportsweb, the Yawkey Way Report, Fansided's Chowder and Champions, and The Hockey Writers. He is also the host of the weekly radio show Top Shelf Sports on Bryant University's WJMF radio. Follow him on Twitter @TopShelfSports5







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