Allen Craig a popular name on the trade market
To say that Allen Craig‘s 2014 season was a disappointment would be a massive understatement. Coming off a three-year stretch in which Craig had slashed a cumulative .312/.354/.500, Craig completely flopped in 2014. After injuring the Lisfranc bone in his foot towards the end of the 2013 season, Craig never recovered in 2014, slashing .237/.291/.346 in 97 games in St. Louis before being dealt to the last place Red Sox in the John Lackey trade. Craig was even worse in Boston, scuffling to a .128/.234/.191 line in 26 gut-wrenching games and concluding a miserable season.
However, despite Craig’s horrific 2014 season and his lack of a defined role with the Red Sox, there is still optimism surrounding his 2015 season. It’s easy to attribute at least some of his failure last season to his foot still bothering him, plus a possible lack of motivation after joining a last-place team at the Trade Deadline.
With another offseason to recover under his belt and with the Red Sox looking like legitimate contenders in 2015, it’s reasonable to think that Craig could be rejuvenated next season.
So, considering just how valuable a rejuvenated Craig would be– we’re talking about one of the National League’s best hitters from 2011 to 2013– and that he doesn’t have a defined role on the Red Sox, he appears to be a popular buy-low target on the trade market.
According to a recent tweet from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Red Sox “have received lots of calls” on Craig, though “there’s nothing brewing with him right now.” And while Crasnick does not mention which teams are calling on Craig, there are a few teams that have popped up throughout the offseason, particularly the Brewers and Marlins, though Miami’s signing of Michael Morse could put an end to those rumors.
The Red Sox aren’t likely to net a huge return by trading Craig as, despite the optimism, there’s no guarantee that he’ll rebound next season. Still, given Craig’s ceiling as an elite hitter, the Red Sox shouldn’t just give up on him for spare parts either. After all, even though the Red Sox don’t have a place for him now, a healthy Craig’s bat would play anywhere on the diamond and injuries obviously happen during the season.
Despite all of the upside, though, it would make sense to trade Craig, perhaps as a piece of a package for a top-tier starting pitcher. He and Daniel Nava are similar players with similar roles and, with Craig’s trade value much higher than Nava’s even after his down year, Craig would likely be the one to go. Plus, even if Craig does rebound, the Red Sox may not be able to give him an optimal amount of playing time. If the Red Sox don’t receive an attractive offer for Craig, then they should keep him and pray for a rebound, but if they receive an intriguing trade proposal, then it absolutely makes sense to deal Craig.