It has been nearly 3 months since the Tampa Bay Rays traded for then-injured relief pitcher Jesse Crain, but on Wednesday, compensation (heading to the Chicago White Sox) was finally announced to complete the deal.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) October 16, 2013
According to the above report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays are shipping out two players (Ben Kline and Sean Bierman) to complete the deal (along with cash), but that isn’t the big focus here. In fact, both players are considered by most industry professionals as “non-prospects”, and it is very likely that neither will ever appear in the Major Leagues.
The story here, however, is the fact that Crain never actually pitched for the Rays. He was battling a well-publicized shoulder injury prior to the deal, and the calculated gamble by Tampa Bay backfired when he could never get his throwing arm in the right shape. Crain was absolutely lights-out prior to the injury (0.74 ERA and an All-Star selection), but his absence certainly didn’t help Tampa Bay as they were bounced from the playoffs.
Making matters worse for the Rays, Crain is now a free agent, but fortunately, it appears that the price tag wasn’t too high in the form of player talent. It’s tough not to root for Crain to get healthy as he moves forward, but the return on investment for Tampa Bay was certainly none.