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July 30, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Crain Gained

by R.J. Anderson

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TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Acquired RHP Jesse Crain from the White Sox for future considerations. [7/29]

This is not your normal deadline trade. For starters, Crain is on the disabled list, dealing with a strained throwing shoulder. His last attempt to get back on the mound didn't go so well, giving his short-term outlook an ominous feel. But the Rays are not the only team invested in Crain's health. The White Sox, led by Rick Hahn, have creatively put their return on Crain's right shoulder. If he gets back soon then they'll receive players to be named later. If he doesn't then the White Sox will likely receive cash. Hahn and Andrew Friedman have, in a sense, pulled off a trade-and-follow.

The Rays should be happy with their deal if Crain gets back to normal. Crain is a hard-throwing right-hander with a deep arsenal—including two breaking balls and a seldom-used splitter. His mechanics contain the right amount of funk, with bow-and-arrow-like arm action and a high three-quarters release point. Because of the deception and velocity, Crain is able to pitch up in the zone and live to tell about it.

Presumably the Rays would add Crain to an impressive end-game group that already features Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, and Alex Torres. Add in Jamey Wright and it has the look of a strong unit to finish out the season with. If those pitchers are staying then whom might Friedman shed? Perhaps no one. The Rays are notorious talent hoarders, and always seem to stretch a 40-man roster further. Were the Rays to cut ties with a reliever expect it to be Kyle Farnsworth; unless, of course, they put him on the disabled list with a well-timed strained forearm.

UPDATE: So much for the contingency part. Ken Rosenthal reports the White Sox and Rays will decide on the return independent of Crain's performance. It's still a bit of a trade-and-follow, just one not directly related to Crain.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

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