Allen Craig

John Farrell doesn't expect Allen Craig to be traded

John Tomase
March 09, 2015 - 9:13 am

JUPITER, Fla. -- Allen Craig was once an MVP candidate for the Cardinals. Now he's little more than a fifth outfielder/trade bait for the Red Sox. Finding him playing time -- especially because he was once a regular -- won't be easy. "It'€™ll be a challenge," manager John Farrell said on Monday before the Red Sox visited the Cardinals. "We recognize it fully." But that doesn't mean the Red Sox are writing off Craig. He can play the outfield and first base, and if his foot is healed, has the kind of bat that could demand playing time in the case of an injury to a starting outfielder. He received MVP votes in 2012 and 2013 with the Cardinals, making the All-Star the latter season while driving in a career-high 97. "“We've always felt that despite what he went through last year, there's a productive hitter here, one that's got a proven track record," Farrell said. "Timing is better. He's in good shape. The foot issue is behind him. We expect him to regain his ability to hit." The tricky part of the spring is the fact that Craig should be very much on the trade block. The Red Sox have a glut of outfielders -- Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo and maybe even Daniel Nava (because he hits left-handed) all reside ahead of him on the depth chart -- and Craig is a player who could have some value if he proves healthy this spring. "It'€™ll be a challenge to get him the number of at-bats he'€™s accustomed to," Farrell said. "That being said, I'€™m putting myself in the wrong position if I'€™m worrying about trades or speculating who might be." So for now, Craig will back up Mike Napoli at first, as well as Ramirez in left. "We fully expect him to be on this team," Farrell said. "There's nothing to expect otherwise. He's the one in particular that we just said, 'Let's get the appropriate number of at-bats that spring training would provide,' and we'll go from there. His attitude has been great. He understands the situation that he's in. He understands that, coming off last year, we had to make decisions to improve the team, and he's got to compete for at-bats. He's more than willing to embrace that."