The Houston Astros have invested in a lot of pitching during the off-season, but on Tuesday, it became clear that they weren’t done fortifying their bullpen.
Astros have signed free agent RHP Jesse Crain. Former U of Houston Cougar posted 0.74 ERA in 2013.
— Houston Astros (@astros) December 31, 2013
Houston signed reliever Jesse Crain to an undisclosed contract to presumably become a high-leverage member of their bullpen, and I love this move. Crain was named to the 2013 All-Star game after posting the aforementioned 0.74 ERA in 38 appearances with the White Sox last season, but unfortunately, injury woes sidelined him for the rest of the season, even after being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Still, Crain has been one of the best relievers in all of baseball in recent seasons, putting up a sub-3.00 ERA in 3 straight seasons, and if the injury troubles are behind him, this could be a coup for Houston. It isn’t quite as simple as it may seem, though, as Crain’s pitching shoulder is the center of the problem, and with the history of volatility in relief pitchers, it may not be academic that he suddenly becomes the same guy from 2011-2013.
Houston has made a concerted effort to make their bullpen (and their entire staff) more competitive, and if Crain is right, he may be the best of the bunch.