That speculation has now become reality as the White Sox have traded Crain and cash considerations to the Rays for a player(s) to be named later or cash considerations. With the right-hander still on the DL with shoulder soreness, the White Sox’ return on the veteran is contingent on how much he’s able to pitch the rest of the season.
Crain is expected to begin throwing again by the end of the week, and figures to be available to pitch for the Rays in mid-August. When he returns, Tampa Bay will be rewarded with one of the top relievers in the AL. In 36.2 innings pitched this year, the righty has a posted a 0.74 ERA and has 46 strikeouts compared to just 11 walks.
For GM Rick Hahn and the White Sox, trading Crain was a must. Chicago is 18 games out of first place and with the 32-year-old’s contract up at the end of the year, chances are both parties would have gone their separate ways once the season concluded.
However, there’s no doubt that Crain’s injury dampened his once top-of-the-line trade value before. Given the fact that he was, at one point, thought to be the Sox’ most attractive trade asset, it’s somewhat disheartening to see him traded for what figures to be a modest return at best.
With Crain now a member of the Rays, Hahn and the Sox can only wonder: what if there All-Star reliever had just stayed healthy?