It seems as though the Chicago White Sox have lost one of their biggest trade chips for the upcoming trade deadline. Jesse Crain, who has posted a 0.74 ERA through 36.2 IP, has been placed on the 15 day disabled list. In terms of Wins Above Replacement, Crain has been the best relief pitcher in baseball- posting a 2.0 mark already.
While Crain, whose DL stint is retroactive to June 30th, will be back by the trade deadline, his value takes a significant hit with the news. He is being placed on the DL with a shoulder strain, which will definitely give some potential suitors pause.
The thin market for relievers becomes even thinner with this news. Many contenders- including the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals– are in need of bullpen help. Crain was initially viewed as the crown jewel of the reliever trade market. However, with this news, the market is now dominated by the Marlins’ Steve Cishek and the Cubs’ Kevin Gregg, among others.
Crain, a solid reliever throughout his career, has never had a season like this. His lowest ERA in any prior season had been 2.00 in his rookie season with the Minnesota Twins. The righty hurler would have brought a nice return to the White Sox had he not gotten injured.