The Red Sox Are In Active Trade Talks For Allen Craig, Does He Make Sense for the Mariners?

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According to Jon Morosi, the Boston Red Sox have been in active trade talks regarding their recently acquired outfielder/1B/DH Allen Craig:

"#RedSox in “active” trade talks on Allen Craig with at least 1 team, sources say. He’s said to be fully recovered from foot injury.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 18, 2014"

Even though the Seattle Mariners have already traded for a right-handed outfielder in Justin Ruggiano, there’s no reason to think Allen Craig couldn’t be a great fit in the Pacific Northwest.

Allen Craig is a 30 year old outfielder signed to an extremely friendly contract through 2017. Next season he is owed $5.5 million, in 2016 it’s $9 million, and in 2017 $11 million. Then, his contract includes a $13 million team option in 2018.

For a buy-low trade candidate, the Mariners could do well to get the versatile Allen Craig. As Morosi’s tweet notes, the Sox say he’s fully recovered from last seasons foot injury, a limiting injury that held him to 126 games in 2014.

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Craig had his worst statistical season in 2014, hitting .215/.279/.315 with 8 home runs and 46 RBI. But his career numbers are far more promising: .282/.337/.445 triple slash with an average of 19 home runs and 95 RBI over 162 game spans.

If Craig is indeed healthy, and able to return to form, it’s no stretch to think him a .280/.330/.420 hitter with 15 home runs and 80 RBI in 2015. And, as a right-handed hitter, Allen Craig has done well against lefties in his career, notching a .837 OPS against southpaws in 5 MLB seasons.

With Craig’s versatility, the Mariners could play lefty-righty matchups quite well throughout the 2015 season. If the M’s are playing a left-handed pitcher, they could have Craig or Justin Ruggiano play in left or right field, while the other plays in the other corner spot. Even still, the M’s could elect to sit Logan Morrison at first and have Craig play 1B to further stack the lineup with righties who thump on left-handed pitching.

Jul 4, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder

Nelson Cruz

(17) bats during the game against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners offense was decidedly left-handed last season, and the batting numbers against southpaws reflected the one dimensional nature of the offense. But if the Mariners add Craig on top of Ruggiano and FA signee Nelson Cruz, the team would have offensive versatility every single day.

It’s hard to gage what the Red Sox would want for Craig, with his combination of a very down season and a long, team-friendly contract situation. The Sox would undoubtedly want a pitcher, and Roenis Elias could certainly headline a deal as he has 5 more years of service, will be cost controlled, and has Major League experience.

Craig is part of a still-full outfield, even with the trade of Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers.

Do you think the Mariners are the mystery team with the Red Sox? Should the M’s swing a deal for the versatile right-hander if it includes Roenis Elias and one or two mid-level prospects?

I think Craig could play an integral role in a 2015 World Series run. He is a bounce back candidate, not all that expensive, and would give the Mariners even more right-handed pop in a lineup that is becoming more and more balanced.

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