The bullpen for the Tampa Bay Rays was already decent as they are currently ranked seventh in the American League with a 3.67 earned run average. However, when healthy, reliever Jesse Crain is going to make the group that much better. Will the addition of Crain give the Rays the edge they need to win the AL East?
Crain was acquired from the Chicago White Sox for cash and players to be named later. He has not pitched since June 29 due to a right shoulder strain, but Tampa Bay is confident he will be able to be activated off the disabled list soon.
“We have a lot of faith in our medical staff here,” manager Joe Maddon said, according to RaysBaseball.com. “I consider Ron Porterfield the best trainer in Major League Baseball. Once our guys get their hands on him, we feel very optimistic that we can get him back.”
The 32-year-old is 2-3 with an incredible 0.74 ERA, 19 holds, one save and 46 strikeouts in 38 appearances in 2013. With the exception of relief pitcher Alex Torres, who is having an unbelievable season, Crain will be a huge upgrade for the bullpen. The Rays will be able to use him in many different ways, with an eighth-inning role suiting him the best.
Tampa Bay currently only has a half game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. With that being said, they would have a solid lead on a Wild Card spot if they lose their grip on the division. I personally believe that adding Crain not only gives the Rays a solid shot at the postseason but also makes the team legitimate contenders.