Red Sox Send Allen Craig Off 40-Man Roster, Any Call Up?


Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox announced that their limbo involving Allen Craig is finally over, with the decision to outright him to their Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket. Craig had cleared waivers and, now, is no longer on Boston’s 40-man roster.

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Steve Adams of said, “That Craig cleared waivers unclaimed isn’t necessarily a surprise, given the lack of production he’s experienced in the past two seasons and the significant amount of money that remains on his contract. Had any team claimed the 30-year-old Craig on waivers, they would have been required to assume the remaining $25.2MM that he is owed through the end of the 2017 season.”

Adams also said, “Craig, technically, has the right to refuse his outright assignment, but doing so would mean forfeiting the money remaining on his contract, so he’ll remain with Triple-A Pawtucket in hopes of rediscovering his stroke.” In 24 games, this season, Craig has hit just .135, with a home run and two RBIs in 52 at-bats.

After being an All-Star for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, Craig injured his foot, which led him into disarray in 2014. His play was so bad, the Cardinals lost faith that he would ever recover to his old form. They traded Craig, along with starting pitcher Joe Kelly, for veteran pitcher John Lackey. While Craig struggled, again, and Kelly only recently has turned his own injury woes around a bit, Lackey has gone for a record of 2-2 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts, this season.

Another interesting note is that the 40-man roster is actually at 37, meaning that the move was not necessarily made to make room for other players to be called up to the big club. Craig could, possibly, gain success in the minors and be brought back; however, to be moved when he didn’t have to be is not very encouraging by the Red Sox brass.

The move could be a strategical one. Since right fielder Shane Victorino has returned with a bit of recent success, there wasn’t really a place for Craig to recover his form. Even if another outfielder was to go down with injury, players like Brock Holt and Daniel Nava have outplayed Craig to be considered as a replacement. All that Craig would do is sit on the bench, anyways, hoping to be a pinch hitter and praying not to be an easy out, like he has been.

Does that mean the 40-man roster will stay at 37? Possibly. Likely before the All-Star Break. Although, it’s not like the Red Sox have been bashing the ball for runs, lately.

In terms of run production, the Red Sox are last in the American League East, and 12th out of all 15 AL teams, with 151 runs. It’s even more pitiful for this lineup to be hitting .230 as a team batting average, when you consider that they were expected to be one of the most potent lineups in Major League Baseball, at the start of the year.

Regardless of whether Boston calls up another player or not, Craig’s move to Triple-A sets up another complex scenario for him. Playing for the PawSox, along side him in the outfield (or close to him, if Craig plays first base) is Rusney Castillo.

Mar 31, 2015; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Rusney Castillo (38) on deck to bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Picture this: you have just been sent down, with very little hope of coming back to the big club, unless you perform a miracle in Triple-A. You look over to your teammate, who is being paid over $11 million a year, until 2019, to play with you, which you know that your bosses don’t want to see. They would rather see a quicker return on their investment, hence why you were outrighted in the first place. Here’s a player who is hitting .304, with a .355 on-base percentage, and slugs the ball at .449, and even has six stolen bases in 17 games, while dealing with a current injury to his shoulder. You are three years older than him, with only a nagging injury from years past, and could not hit nearly as impressive as he could in almost the same amount of games with Boston.

Those 10 games in 2014 have Red Sox Nation drooling for the chance to see Castillo play for them, while Craig’s 53 games for Boston made the same fans groan with displeasure. The sight of players like Castillo, brewing with excitement for when they can get a crack at the big club, will eat at Craig, brooding with frustration at what he has to overcome for the light to shine back on him. Who is going to trade for a guy who was outrighted when he didn’t have to be?  Sample sizes, bursts of success, long-term issues, injuries, roster spots, and everything else aside, Craig will have it tough to get out of Pawtucket.

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