Is this the craziest headline you've seen in awhile? I hope so. But just hear me out for a minute then I can take all your hate.
Mike Napoli is having the worst season of his career, which coincidentally is happening in a contract year for him. In 96 games, Napoli is hitting .211 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs. While all Red Sox fans are appreciative for what he did for the ball club in 2013, management just can't keep players for what they did in the past (cough, Ortiz, cough). Unless there is some unforeseen event in which Napoli stays, he will either be traded in August or let go at the end of the season.
So what will the Red Sox do about first base?
The first base position cannot be given to a player that will hit .200. Some positions, such as shortstop and catcher, can be given leniency when it comes to hitting because they provide something more on the defensive side of the field. But not first base. You need someone hitting at least .270 with some power in order to be a successful and contending team.
So what will the Red Sox do? Will they bring in another highly touted free agent? A young guy such as Travis Shaw? Or how about super utility man Brock Holt?
Now enter, Allen Craig.
Allen Craig's bizarre and historic decline is astounding. Craig was once one of the best third basemen in the National League. In his 2013 campaign, in which his St. Louis Cardinals eventually lost to his current team, the Red Sox, in the World Series, Craig hit .315 with 13 home runs and 97 RBIs. Over 5 years with the Cardinals, Craig hit .291, peaking in his previously mentioned 2013, where he was an all star and received some MVP votes.
Now, however, as he is buried in the Red Sox Farm System, one has to wonder what in the hell happened to previously one of the best hitters in the game. Craig injured his foot a few years back and, while he said the injury has completely healed, has never been quite the same player. Although he is still not back to where he was before, Craig has been showing some flashes of life down in Pawtucket. In 69 games this season, Craig is hitting .274 with 3 homes and 19 RBIs. While his numbers aren't stellar, I believe that he is slowly getting back into his groove. He was never a true power hitter, but could drive in runs and hit for a pretty decent average.
If Craig can be 75% of the player he once was, he could be a huge asset to this Red Sox team in the future. Instead of paying another $20 million to a highly touted free agent or having a rookie try and scoop errant throws from Pablo Sandoval, see what Craig before the end of the season.
I mean, how much worse can it get than Napoli right now?
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS