Even without Allen Craig, the Red Sox have an extremely crowded outfield. After signing a massive contract over the winter, Hanley Ramirez will be playing the majority of the season in left field if healthy. Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts look to be battling for center field, while Shane Victorino, if healthy, will be playing the majority of innings in right field. As the 4th outfielder, the Red Sox have Daniel Nava, who has proven to be serviceable in that position.
Now the question has to be asked: where does Allen Craig fit into the 25 man roster?
With the amount of time that he has spent in the big leagues, he could refuse a trip to Pawtucket. The Red Sox would also not want to pay someone that much money to be playing in Triple A. The Red Sox have made it quite clear that Craig is available and when Spring Training games start in less than a week, teams will be looking at the one-time stud hitter quite intently.
The former third basemen was traded as part of the John Lackey deal last season. In 29 games with Boston, he hit .128 with only 4 extra base hits. However, Craig was still recovering from a nagging foot injury and says he is healthy now. If he can return to his 2012/2013 form, he can be one of the most dangerous hitters in a lineup.
Craig is guaranteed no less than $26.5 million over the next three seasons, so the Red Sox would have to take on some of that money if they want to trade him. Teams such as the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, and Los Angeles Angels could look to acquire Craig. The Red Sox may not get a hefty return for him, but it is essential that they trade away some of their outfield to make room for Mookie Betts and company.
Alternatively, the Red Sox could elect to keep Craig and hope that he returns to his former self, a bat like Craig's in an already dangerous lineup could be the thing that brings the Red Sox over the hump. If the Red Sox decide to keep Craig, they could look to package Victorino in a deal to Philadelphia for either Hamels or Lee.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS