The Rays love to seize opportunities to acquire players who could make a major impact to their team at a fraction of what they’re worth. On this Monday, they’re hoping to do just that once again with White Sox right-hander Jesse Crain.
Crain was unhittable for the White Sox from April until the end of June, managing a 0.74 ERA, an 11.3 K/9, a 2.7 BB/9, and a 0.0 HR/9 in 38 appearances and 36.2 innigns pitched. With his mid-90’s fastball blowing away hitters, his slider and curveball forcing a great combination of whiffs and weak contact to right-handers, and his splitter giving lefties fits, Crain took his game to another level and was rapidly emerging as one of the most desirable trade targets around. But then he hit the DL with a right shoulder strain and suddenly everything was pulled into question. Crain still hasn’t been on a major league or even a minor league mound since. The thing about Crain, though, was that even though his injury is certainly an issue, the fact that he’s a very effective reliever has never really been up for debate. The 30 year old has lowered his ERA each of hte last four years, managing a 2.39 ERA overall, and if healthy, he’s certainly a guy teams want for the back-end of their bullpen. With that in mind, even with the injury cloud hanging over Crain, the Rays couldn’t help but make a serious play to acquire him knowing they could end up getting a dominant reliever for far less than they ever could have thought just a few weeks ago.
Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reported that the Rays, the White Sox, and another team are close to a complicated three-team deal that would land Crain in the Rays bullpen and give the White Sox a return based on how many games Crain pitches for the Rays the rest of the year. It remains to be seen how such a trade would work, but it sounds like the Rays would be making a trade where they’re only giving up a real prospect should Crain pitch the rest of the year and the risk if he stays hurt is not very significant. It’s never been as complicated as this, but that’s exactly the type of trade you know the Rays love to make. The trade is not yet close, but discussions are being made and we will have to see what happens in the coming hours.