Allen Craig is invited to the Red Sox Spring Training camp and gets another chance to revive his career and be the player he once was in St. Louis.
Earlier this month, the Boston Red Sox invited a handful of players to Spring Training. Out of players who now have a chance to be assigned to the big league roster, one player who stuck out from the group was former All-Star, Allen Craig.
Now if Craig were to stand out at camp, there is still a slim chance he makes the Major League roster for Opening Day due to the fact that the first base position is locked in with Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw. Craig can also play either corner outfield position, but those chances seem slimmer due to the fact that he would have to beat out Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and Chris Young. Also, having utility player, Brock Holt, being able to play every position other than pitcher and catcher doesn’t help his cause. With that being said, if Craig were to have a successful Spring Training, you would probably see him play for the Pawtucket Paw Sox when Opening Day rolls around.
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Back in 2014 when the Red Sox went into “rebuild mode,” they were trading away their rotation, including the likes of Jon Lester and John Lackey. The Sox picked up Craig and Joe Kelly from the Cardinals in a deal for Lackey. At first, it seemed like a good deal for the future. A 29-year old Craig at the time was a .300 hitter for the past 3 seasons prior to his 2014 campaign. He was an All-Star a year ago before getting traded and knowing he could play first base and the outfield, he could give manger John Ferrell some flexibility when making the lineup.
When Craig was traded to Boston he was hitting a career worst .237 with an OBP of .291. Fans weren’t concerned about Craig’s first half struggles and were confident that he could get back to his old self.
Boy were they wrong.
I have to admit that I was one of the believers in Craig and thought that he was a diamond in the rough when we first acquired him. But after the 2014 and 2015 stints with the Sox where he wasn’t even hitting his weight, .128 in 2014 and .152 in 2015, Craig just wasn’t the answer for the Sox. After a couple trips to the disabled list and being sent down to AAA Pawtucket, Craig has one more chance to revive his career in Boston and hopefully find his way playing in Fenway again.
After a horrendous 2015 season where Craig only played 36 games, you would have to think that he would be determined to show fans and sportswriters that he can still play. If Craig were to get called up, my guess is that it would be in the dog days of August or if Hanley Ramirez were to get injured (it’s bound to happen), which could lead to Craig getting the shot he’s been hoping for. Also, with his ability to play the outfield, he may get the call up if any of the players ahead of him goes down.
Craig was once a great player for St. Louis. He once hit .354 against left handed pitchers in 2012 and then .327 against righties in 2013. I don’t want to get my heart broken again if I become a believer in Allen Craig this year, but if he were to be the player he once was in St. Louis, he may become a key contributor for the Red Sox in 2016.