The Search for Allen Craig

Allen Craig is missing.  I don’t think it’s his picture on a milk carton, or one of those flyers you see on telephone poles or the walls of post offices kind of missing.

When I say he is missing, I don’t mean not seen or heard from, like Peter Bourjos has often been.  I mean HE is missing, the essence of Allen Craig.  That part that hits baseballs hard with sticks of wood, with or without men in scoring position.

When I see Allen Craig now he looks defeated and depressed.  Maybe I am imagining it, far be it from me to really know what Allen Craig thinks or feels.  He just looks that way to me.  I don’t see him smile much anymore; his body language at the plate screams “I am going to fail at this”.

So, where is Allen Craig?  Was he left behind when he made that turn around first base last September and stumbled, grasping his foot in pain?  There are some who think that Craig’s foot injury has left its mark on him at the plate.  I am not an expert on swings or stances.  What I see when I watch him is someone who is swinging late, and who is swinging down on the ball rather than centering it.  He hits a lot of ground balls, especially weak dribbling ground balls.  His stats reflect this:  his ground ball rate is at a career high of 60%; both his line drive rate and fly ball rate are lower than last season.

I don’t know if it is the foot.  He seems to get around alright in the outfield.  His defense is no worse than usual, in fact it might be a tad better than last year, though the sample size is too small to really conclude that.  If his lower half  is affecting his swing, wouldn’t it affect his outfield performance as well?

It’s a mystery to me.  He doesn’t look right that’s for sure.  Whether it is his timing or whatever, he needs to figure it out, not me.  It’s fodder for me to write about, but that doesn’t help him at all, and the bottom line is that I want him to get better.  He needs to get better for the sake of the team.

If he doesn’t get better, well that makes for some interesting and tough decisions for John Mozeliak.  Right now the team is struggling offensively, and the din of screams from the ever restless fanbase to call up Oscar Taveras NOW is reaching deafening proportions.  I personally don’t think calling up Taveras is the answer.  Fixing the team that is there now is the answer.  The magic bullet theory rarely works; the Yasiel Puig story is more the exception than the rule.  What if Taveras comes up and doesn’t miraculously fix the team?  Are we going to have to call up every prospect with a bat until someone does?  Is it fair to Taveras to make him the poster child for the success or failure of the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals?  I don’t think so.  I bet John Mozeliak doesn’t think so either.

However, if Craig cannot answer the call, then someone will have to take his place, and it will probably be Taveras if that happens.  It just needs to be if and only if it is clear that Allen Craig is irretrievably broken.  Sure, if Craig is injured and goes on the DL, we will likely see Taveras, but that is a temporary fix.  What is more concerning is whether or not Craig can ever get back to something closely resembling the Craig we all know.  It is too soon to know that, and it is too soon to give up and start looking for a replacement.  Oscar Taveras will get here soon enough, he isn’t going anywhere.  This team needs to get itself together without relying on a magic bullet.

The search for Allen Craig continues.  I hope he is found soon.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

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3 Comments

  1. Jerry Modene

     /  May 12, 2014

    So, what do you think about this rumor of Craig and Miller to Miami for Stanton?

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    • The guy who wrote that is not credible. He used to be the editor at Redbird Rants (way before my time) and the story I heard is that he really screwed things up and was a major problem to deal with. He is the kind of guy who when he is says he has a “source” within the organization, more than likely it is a beer vendor. I wouldn’t trust the story, but that’s just me.

      Besides, I see no reason that the Marlins would take Craig and Miller for Stanton. Two struggling players for perhaps the best power hitter in baseball? Jeffrey Loria is an idiot, but he would have to be brain dead to make that trade.

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  2. I saw that Goold put the fire out on the Stanton rumor in his chat. I really think the guy who wrote it was just trying to get attention and pulled it out of his ass.

    If there were some possibility of a Stanton trade, however, I would do it in a heartbeat and I would trade Taveras to do it. Why? Because Stanton is a better player than Taveras, he has more power and he has better defense. The Marlins have no incentive to trade at this point because they are playing well and why diminish their chances of contending by trading Stanton? But if they could get equal value back, and eliminate the future salary burden they will encounter if they want to re-sign him in 2 years then they might consider it (and Loria is an idiot).

    They don’t need pitching, they have a good rotation now and several good prospects in the minors. They are light in the OF and 1B. Give them Taveras to replace Stanton, and Jay as a LH platoon for Ozuna in CF. Then add Adams (he has more value than Craig) and another prospect not named Piscotty. Voilà, you have a trade. (I should be a GM ☺)

    Of course, it is not that simple. Stanton will be a free agent in two years and he will cost a boatload to keep. The Cards could probably afford it if they let Holliday walk, and they have Piscotty to take his place. I actually like Piscotty better than Taveras, he doesn’t have the power that Taveras has, but he is still pretty good and he is much better defensively. He also has better makeup. He is mature and intelligent like Wainwright. Taveras is Yasiel Puig without the headlines. Piscotty is a perfect Cardinal clubhouse fit; Taveras could have issues.

    That was long, but those are my thoughts on the Stanton idea. It isn’t going to happen.

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