Red Sox reserve strength that will be in Pawtucket – maybe

Feb 24, 2016; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski watches the Red Sox warm up before the workout at Jet Blue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2016; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski watches the Red Sox warm up before the workout at Jet Blue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 8, 2016; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles infielder Allen Craig (5) singles during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2016; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles infielder Allen Craig (5) singles during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The history of Allen Craig is well-known as this one-time All-Star just saw his hitting prowess vanish like a box of donuts at a police convention. Craig was good – very good and now he is – to be kind – not as good. Compared to his former status it is not slipping down the ladder, but taking the express elevator to the bottom.

In spring training Craig has shown an occasional glimpse of his once productive bat. One may claim that the deterioration of Craig’s skill set is directly related to a series of injuries. In 2016 at Pawtucket Craig missed most of the season with injuries. In 22 games Craig hit .173. Craig’s last toe dipping at the MLB level was 2015 in Boston and that was another well under the Mendoza Line at .152.

Craig easily passed through waivers in 2016 and was shipped off to Pawtucket. The reasoning is simple: contract. This season he will be paid $11 Million to play first base, designate hit, or wander the outfield. Boston could just cut him loose, but, hey – he still gets paid.

Craig is worth the risk for any team – someone may be reasonably impressed that his skills are ticking upwards, but that will mean nothing since no team, GM or living saint is going to spend the money. Craig’s only option will be playing with a level of panache that may make him valuable somewhere in 2017 or in 2018 when the Red Sox are off the hook.