The Rays knew that Jesse Crain was injured when they acquired him. At the time he was traded to Tampa on July 29th, Crain had not pitched in exactly a month, when he gave up a run on three hits in an inning pitched. Sidelined with what was expected to be a minor injury, Crain continued to have setback after setback with his strained shoulder.
Finally, two months after his acquisition, it appeared as though Crain may have gotten healthy enough to make an appearance. He had made it through his bullpen sessions, pitched live batting practice and was activated off the 60 day disabled list. Crain seemed ready to finally make his Rays debut.
But not so fast. Almost immediately upon being activated, Crain started feeling discomfort in the shoulder after pre-game warmups. As of this point, he has yet to actually pitch for the Rays, and it is fair to wonder if he ever will. It seems unlikely that, even if he manages to get into a game for the Rays by the end of the year, that Crain would end up on the postseason roster.
Yet, this trade could still work out for the Rays. They have yet to actually send anything to the White Sox, as compensation was to be determined later. If Crain never actually does anything for the Rays this year, then that price would continue to go down, if anything ends up going to Chicago at all.
Meanwhile, the Rays could end up with the inside track on signing Crain after the season. Despite having an All-Star season, the market for Crain is likely to be far quieter than it may have been otherwise. Given Crain’s familiarity with the Rays organization, and their patient approach to his injury, could they have the inside track to resign Crain?
Even though this trade was expected to make an impact upon the Rays this season, it may actually have a greater impact upon next season. As of now, the Rays would go into 2014 with a plethora of left handed options. In addition to Crain, the Rays could have Wesley Wright, Jake McGee, Alex Torres and possibly Cesar Ramos as potential pieces for the bullpen. In fact, with all of these pieces, the Rays may be able to get some solid minor league pieces for one or two of those arms.
Jesse Crain may well make an impact upon the Rays. It just may not be this season.