Cheap Seats

Red Sox sign Sandoval, Ramirez... What's next for Allen Craig

Just a few months ago the Boston Red Sox traded for St. Louis Cardinals first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig with an eye for the future.

Craig, who was in the throes of a terrible season, was going to play out the string, get healthy over the winter and come back in 2015 ready to be the .291 hitter with pop that he's always been.

But before the hot stove could even get up to full temperature, the Red Sox have signed a pair of middle of the order hitters, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Assuming that Sandoval will play third base, Xander Bogaerts will play shortstop, Mike Napoli will play first and David Ortiz will be the designated hitter, that pushes Ramirez to the crowded outfield picture.

The Red Sox were said to be shopping fellow trade deadline acquisition Yoenis Cespedes already this off-season. That can't be good news for Craig who, after his worst season in the big leagues is the biggest question mark among Boston corner outfielders.

While the BoSox could stand to improve over centerfielder Jackie Bradley's .198 season batting average in center, it's not likely that Craig, Cespedes or Ramirez are going to take over in center.

Over the long haul, the best place for Craig to play is going to be first base where Napoli turned in only a .248 batting average and 55 RBIs. But I doubt Boston could find a trade taker for him -- or if the club would be willing to bench Napoli -- because of his hefty, $16 million salary in 2015.

It's a shame that Craig, who was such a productive player in St. Louis before 2014, now seems like a man without a position or a future. Maybe the best thing for him would be to get traded to a small market team that's willing to take a chance on him in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle.

It's a far fall from a guy who set records for offensive production in 2013 and who could have been the 2011 World Series MVP if not for a fateful home run and triple from teammate David Freese.