The Rays made their big move on July 29th, acquiring right-hander Jesse Crain from the Chicago White Sox. He still hasn’t played, and in fact he was moved to the 60-day DL the other day. He isn’t eligible to come off until September 2nd. Yet in stark opposition to every similar situation we’ve seen in baseball, the Crain acquisition has not bee a failure. Crain hasn’t given the Rays anything yet. But if Rays fans are patient enough, the trade for Crain could look genius one month for now.
The Rays acquired Crain despite the fact that he was down with a shoulder injury. That injury still sidelines him. But just like the moment when he was signed, the deal for Crain has the opportunity to make a major impact while having little risk. Crain was acquire for future considerations–essentially the Rays and White Sox will decide what Chicago gets for him after the season–so the Rays won’t have to give up more than cash if he doesn’t return or only comes back briefly. And when he returns, he has the ability to be one of the best relievers in baseball. With the White Sox this season, Crain had a 0.74 ERA and 46-11 strikeout to walk ratio in 36.2 IP, riding a mid-90’s fastball and two effective breaking balls, and he hasn’t posted an ERA higher than 3.00 since 2010. With Joel Peralta being overworked and Fernando Rodney somewhat inconsistent, the Rays have the ability to be that and plenty more. Imagine getting a player like that for next to nothing? Just keep waiting for Jesse Crain. His acquisition will plenty of sense before long.