The San Diego Padres made another minor league signing.
Allen Craig isn’t ready to give up his baseball career yet and will be returning to the San Diego Padres for the 2019 season. For a second-straight season, Craig has agreed to a minor league deal with the Padres, meaning the 34-year-old will return to the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas, where he spent all of 2018.
Craig appeared in 92 games last season, hitting .293 with a .375 on-base percentage for the Chihuahuas. Within the hitter-friendly confines of Southwest University Park, Craig chipped in 13 home runs, 18 doubles, drove in 59 runs, and finished with an OPS of .854, a near 200 point increase from his brief stint in AAA with the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2017.
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He hasn’t appeared in the major leagues since 2015 with the Boston Red Sox, however, Craig has had a memorable major league career, playing in parts of six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and Red Sox. Before injuries derailed his career, Craig made the National League All-Star team in 2013 and won a World Series with the Cardinals back in 2011.
Craig originally signed with the Padres last offseason, largely in part because he currently lives in Southern California and could play close to home, in the hopes that he was able to earn a major league roster spot out of spring training. Instead, the veteran hit .107 (3-28, all singles) in spring training, although he did draw five walks.
The signing is purely a move to add depth to the minor league system and someone has to play first base for the Chihuahuas. His Triple-A stats last season were helped from hitting in El Paso, however, very few teams in baseball can say they have a player of Craig’s pedigree mentoring players in the minor leagues. Playing mainly at first base in El Paso, Craig continued to see time in the outfield, logging 59 games in left field.
In 534 career major league games, Craig is a .276 hitter with a .333 OBP, .768 OPS, and 59 career home runs.