The Red Sox haven't just optioned Allen Craig to Pawtucket. The team announced Monday that they went through the entire process of placing him on waivers, and have now outrighted him to Triple-A after he went unclaimed, leaving them with an open 40-man roster spot (they're up to three now), and answering the question of whether anyone is even interested in the long-suffering Craig anymore.
To be clear on the implications of this: 29 other major league teams had a chance to take on Allen Craig's contract and add him to their roster, no other strings attached, 29 other major league teams said no.
Over the past offseason, there was some hope that the Red Sox could find a trade partner for the former All-Star, but as spring training came closer and there was little smoke to be found, it became clear they would have to find a place for Craig on their roster. That earned Craig 52 at bats scattered sporadically over the course of the first month of the season, and with those 52 at bats producing a dismal .430 OPS, a return to the minor leagues from which he seemed to have graduated four years past.
Craig had been enjoying some decent success in his first four games down in Triple-A, but an 0-for-7 performance in a long game against the Columbus Clippers has seen his OPS dip all the way to .711.
For the Red Sox, it's hard to really draw any conclusions on how they view Craig based on this move. On the one hand, they did just tell the league that if anyone wants his contract, they can, ostensibly, have it. On the other, they may have seen this as their best opportunity to send him through waivers. In the event that he does look like his old self in Triple-A, after all, it's easy to imagine someone taking a flyer on him before the Red Sox were willing to re-introduce him to the lineup.
Still, whether you think the Sox have hope for Craig or not, it's hard to spin this positively for him. Two years ago he was an All-Star. Now not even the league's worst teams will take him.