Allen Craig: Oakland Athletics’ Trade Target?

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The Boston Red Sox have a logjam in their outfield mix and need starting pitching. Fancy that, the Oakland Athletics could use an upgrade in left field and have all of the starting pitching. Amid the Derek Norris trade of last week, Susan Slusser pointed out a few potential trade targets for the A’s, and Allen Craig was on her short list.

Craig will be 30 this coming season, which seems to be a bit past the typical age that Billy Beane seems to go after this offseason, but he is also under contract through 2017, with a 2018 club option. Next season Craig is set to make $5.5M, and $9M in 2016, but in 2017 and 2018, he is due a combined $24M, if the option is picked up by the team (which, if he’s in Oakland it likely wouldn’t be, so a $1M buyout would apply).

Last season was a disaster for Allen Craig, playing in 126 games (11 in left field) due to complications with an ankle injury. A player with recent injury history? Now that’s a move that the A’s would make this winter!

Ok, let’s get down to Allen Craig. In his 372 big league games spanning four seasons before 2014, Craig was a career .306 hitter with a little bit of pop, combining for 35 home runs, 64 doubles, and 189 rbi in 2012 and 2013. Last season, he hit a combined .215 in his time with the Cardinals and Red Sox.

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Craig seems to be in the same mold as Billy Butler; a hitter that focuses on solid contact and base hits, which can also lead to home runs. Since the A’s already signed Butler, Craig would also make sense. The addition of a healthy Craig would give the A’s a solid option in left, and a bat that could slot into a few different spots.

Here is one potential lineup: Crisp (CF), Craig (LF) Lawrie (3B), Butler (DH), Davis (1B), Reddick (RF), Vogt (C) Semien (SS) and Sogard (2B). The potential for power is strewn about the lineup, but there is also Coco Crisp and Craig, both of whom are good at getting on base, one-two in the lineup in front of your biggest run-producers. This wouldn’t be a league leading run producing team, but they could definitely finish in the top third.

Craig would also bring postseason experience to a team that is suddenly lacking in the department. There are candidates for leaders on this team, but Craig’s resume is by far the most impressive, with a .314 career World Series batting average.

Boston traded for Craig at the trade deadline this past season, and he along with Joe Kelly came from St. Louis in return for John Lackey, a minor leaguer and cash. The Sox seemingly didn’t give up a whole lot to attain Craig, so it may not take too much to acquire him. As I stated before, the Red Sox need pitching, and any of the A’s new additions could be logical choices in a potential trade.

Would adding Allen Craig be a risk for Oakland? Yes, but with his contract running through at least the next three seasons, the potential return on investment could definitely outweigh the risk.

Next: Could the A's Go After Jordy Mercer?

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