Tampa Bay Rays Rent Injured All-Star Jesse Crain
In a move to shore up an inconsistent bullpen for an expected playoff run, the Tampa Bay Rays have acquired right-handed reliever Jesse Crain from the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Crain, who had been named to the 2013 American League All-Star Team on the strength of a 0.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 46 strikeouts in 36.1 innings, hit the disabled list effective June 30 with a right shoulder strain. The 31-year old is making $4.5 million this year and will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Before his injury, Crain was one of the most highly touted relievers on the trading block, rumored to be garnering interest from the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds. He was projected to bring in more in trade than any other member of the White Sox relief corps, but when he hit the DL, his stock plummeted. Even now, the Rays aren’t sure when Cain might return but are betting that it will be in time to help with a playoff run before he departs for free agency.
The Rays have had a remarkable July, with a 20-4 record vaulting them to the top spot in the American League East following their win over the Red Sox Monday. Yet the team’s bullpen has shown cracks even as their rotation has delivered. During the Rays’ streak, closer Fernando Rodney allowed ninth-inning runs in consecutive nail biting one-run victories over the Toronto Blue Jays. Kyle Farnsworth yielded three runs in 0.2 innings as the Red Sox blew open a one-run game in the eighth inning to beat the Rays 6-2. And on Sunday, Jake McGee gave up a walk-off single to the New York Yankees’ Alfonso Soriano.
Last year, the Tampa bullpen turned in an American League-best 2.88 ERA and a FIP of 3.19 that led the majors, while striking out more than a batter per inning. This season, Rays relievers are in the middle of the pack, ranking seventh in ERA.
When he returns to the field, Crain promises to offer the team another shut-down arm in high leverage situations. But don’t take Tampa Bay’s word for it. [quote] “We certainly think he has the ability to influence this year’s pennant race very positively for the Rays,” [/quote]said White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn.