I’m naive. I’m idealistic. I apologize. I’m going to try to make you care about something you don’t spend much time or effort worrying about. In a world in which there’s outrage available with every click, I’ll have trouble breaking through. I feel compelled to try.
This is an opinion, one I have earned through my life experiences as a college pitcher, broadcaster, and lifelong fan of baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals. Allen Craig hurt his foot on September 4, 2013 in a game at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. I believe Craig knew–through how it felt, and what he learned–that the injury might be career-threatening. I believe it has compromised his ability to play baseball.
I do not know if he shared this information with his former employer, the St. Louis Cardinals. I believe the team has done due diligence and determined some time ago that the player in question is debilitated, but I do not know that.
I assert that Craig, and the St. Louis Cardinals, shared a tacit knowledge, an unspoken collusion, shall we say, to allow the player to continue the illusion of creating value while the club reaped said “value” by rostering and using the player because of his contract. It’s done all the time, you say. Does that make it right?
What do I care, you retort. I want you to put yourself in his shoes. It’s an ethical dilemma. I will outline some things. This is something to work through intellectually.
What motivates Allen Craig in this position? Fear, survival, fear of surviving a request to ask out for a whole season. That does happens all the time, though: Brian Roberts has spent seasons on the shelf, and the Yankees took him back, (temporarily). Grady Sizemore didn’t play for years; the Red Sox made him their opening day center fielder. (He’s in Philadelphia now). Many pitchers are lost for seasons, due to Tommy John surgery. There’s a lot of precedent for it.
What will I come back to? Will they move on without me? What if I can’t perform the way I used to? It must haunt him.
What motivates the Cardinals? Wins, production, revenue, not in that order. They plowed a good chunk of change into Allen Craig in the early spring of 2013. That’s money out there. That’s turning into bad money. That just might be a sunk cost.
What is to be done? Move Allen Craig. Transfer him to someone else. Take him off our hands. We need something good in return.
Meanwhile, the player won’t admit he’s compromised. The team won’t say they know he’s hurt, because to do so and continue to play him while hurting the team’s chances looks bad. The fans excoriate and vilify the player, the manager, and possible replacements for the player, all because Allen Craig is hurt and no one will say it.
That hasn’t helped anybody. He’s a millionaire playing a game; he’s still in the majors, you say. Good rejoinder. More perspectives in my next post.