Add Allen Craig to the list of first baseman the Marlins are interested in. Miami is looking to add a first baseman this offseason, and Clark Spencer and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald note that the club sees Craig as a viable trade option. With Boston having already signed Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez this offseason, the Red Sox may find themselves in a position to trade the former Cardinal.
Miami has been linked to Michael Morse, Chris Davis, Brandon Moss, and Evan Gattis after Adam LaRoche declined a two-year, $20 million offer.
Not only have the Marlins inquired about potential trades for Evan Gattis and Chris Davis in an effort to upgrade at first base --- as we reported Tuesday ---- but my colleague Clark Spencer hears they also have explored a deal for Boston's Allen Craig.
Craig didn't have the best of seasons in 2014, posting a .215/.279/.315 batting line to complement eight home runs and 46 RBIs. He may have just had an off season at the plate, and considering he batted .315 with 13 home runs and 97 RBIs for the Cardinals in 2013 and posted a WAR of 2.7 in 2012, the Marlins might be willing to give Craig an opportunity.
Boston has a crowded infield after the two notable free agent signings, but it still might not be easy to trade for Craig. The Marlins may be open to trading Nathan Eovaldi, and a deal that involves Craig would likely involve an arm or two at the least. The 30-year old signed a five year, $31 million contract that started in 2013, and Miami would be responsible for most of his contract if they acquired him. Craig might be more expensive than some of the other options the Marlins have, however he is a veteran player that would bring experience to a young lineup.
The Marlins could try to get the Red Sox to pay some of his remaining contract, however Boston may not agree to do so. Craig has been able to get on base consistently throughout the course of his career (.337 OBP), but is not much of a power threat and is a right-handed bat. He has only made five errors in 234 career starts at first base, and upgrading defensively would help Miami's infield. Miami is looking for a balance of right and left-handed hitters in its lineup, and adding Craig would likely make it difficult to find such balance.
A deal for a first baseman might not get done before the Winter Meetings, but Jackson also notes that the Marlins are openly ready to move on from Garrett Jones.
One thing is clear: The Marlins want to go into next season with a first baseman better than Garrett Jones.
Jones is owed $5 million next season, although Miami appears content with him not being on the roster in 2015. The Marlins want an offensive upgrade, and Craig could be a solid trade target moving forward.