Jesse Crain Rumors

AL East Links: Stanton, Crain, Josh Johnson

The latest out of the AL East…

  • The Red Sox "may be willing to part with whatever it takes" in hopes of acquiring the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, a league source tells's Joe Frisaro.  Still, the Marlins have pretty much closed the door on trading Stanton for now.
  • The Red Sox should trade top prospect Xander Bogaerts and more to get Phillies lefty Cliff Lee, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, while Dave Cameron of FanGraphs gives his take on that idea.
  • "The deals we’ve seen so far, teams have gotten a pretty good return," Red Sox Ben Cherington said of this year's trades, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.
  • The Rays acquired reliever Jesse Crain from the White Sox yesterday, with the return to be determined after the season.  Crain has been out since late June with a shoulder strain, and the White Sox seemingly tried to rush him back into action.  "Hopefully this time we'll take our time and be ready for the rest of the year," Crain said, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
  • Josh Johnson accepting a qualifying offer might be an unacceptable risk for the Blue Jays given their limited financial flexibility next year, writes Shi Davidi of  Speaking to Jeff Blair on the Fan 590 on Friday, Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick said he expects the Jays to make a qualifying offer and "hang compensation on" his client, affecting the pitcher's value in the free agent market.  Sosnick didn't say it explicitly, but he seemed to imply they would accept a qualifying offer.  Sosnick believes we're headed toward "the worst free agent pitching market in the last 10 to 15 years," but Johnson isn't likely to be a part of it.
  • The Yankees are in danger of being "a club that isn’t good enough to legitimately contend and not bad enough to completely tear down," writes Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues.  Axisa feels the Yankees will have to scrap their plan to keep the payroll under $189MM next year, if they re-sign Robinson Cano.  Otherwise, they'll have to rebuild.

Rays Acquire Jesse Crain

5:21pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the two sides will negotiate the player/cash combination going from the Rays to the White Sox over the next several weeks. Rosenthal also tweets that the return is not contingent on how much Crain pitches. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the compensation is likely to be finalized after the season. Scott Merkin of adds that the pool of players from which the White Sox can choose has been agreed upon.

4:40pm: The Rays have become the third playoff contender to add a significant piece to their bullpen today, as the team has announced the acquisition of Jesse Crain from the White Sox in exchange for player(s) to be named later or cash considerations. Chicago's return in this deal will reportedly be dependent on Crain's health down the stretch for the Rays. Brandon Gomes has been shifted to the 60-day disabled list to create a 40-man roster spot for Crain. Reports from earlier today stated the ball was in Chicago's court to trade their ace setup man to one of two teams, with the Rays being the favorites.  Crain

The White Sox have also announced the trade, and general manager Rick Hahn issued the following kind words about his former right-hander:

“We cannot say enough about what Jesse has meant to our bullpen, and the positive impact he’s had on our young relievers. "We certainly think he has the ability to influence this year’s pennant race very positively for the Rays.”

The 32-year-old Crain is in the midst of one of the finest seasons for a relief pitcher in recent history. In 36 2/3 innings prior to his shoulder injury, the Toronto native had allowed just three earned runs (0.74 ERA) with 11.3 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. He has not surrendered a home run this season despite pitching in the cozy confines of U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Crain was placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain on July 3.

Crain is in the final season of a three-year, $13MM contract that he signed with the White Sox prior to the 2011 season. His trade to the AL East will bring him out of the only division he's ever known, as he spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Twins after Minnesota selected him in the second round of the 2002 draft. Because he is a free agent at season's end, Crain is strictly a rental and cannot net the Rays a compensatory draft pick in 2014.

Earlier today the Tigers fortified their bullpen by acquiring Jose Veras from the Astros, and the Braves acquired Scott Downs from the Angels.

ESPN's Buster Olney was the first to tweet that a deal had been struck. Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that the White Sox would receive "future considerations" for Crain, depending on his health (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that the Rays would send players to be named later or cash to the Rays.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jesse Crain

3:56pm: The ball is in Chicago's court on a Crain trade, hears Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  The Rays are hoping to finalize a deal for the reliever today.

3:24pm: Crain spoke about the White Sox in the past tense and sounds as if he knows he's gone, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, but declined to identify his potential new team.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Rays remain hopeful of landing Crain, and the teams continue to talk.  The Rays would not be giving up a player from their big league roster, notes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

12:58pm: Crain could be traded today to one of two teams, with the Rays as the leading club, tweets Levine.  He notes it's a complicated deal because the compensation could depend on his performance.

11:39am: The deal is not close to done, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan.  He adds that the White Sox are exploring multiple avenues for Crain.

10:58am: The White Sox are close to trading reliever Jesse Crain in a complicated deal involving the Rays and a third team, reports Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.  Crain is currently on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, and has not pitched since June 29th.  A bullpen session on Thursday was cancelled due to a slight setback.

Crain, 32, snagged his first All-Star nod this season with a stellar first half: a 0.74 ERA, 11.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, no home runs allowed, and a 34.8% groundball rate in 36 2/3 innings.  He'll be a free agent after the season.

Chicago Notes: Crain, Beckham, Russell

A month ago, White Sox reliever Jesse Crain appeared very likely to be traded at the deadline, but now, it looks like it would be tricky for the team to deal him. Crain's shoulder injury, which has kept him out since June 29, is still a problem, and he won't throw until next week, as Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets. ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter) has an idea of how a trade might work despite that injury, though — the Sox might ship him to a contender in a conditional deal, with the return predicated upon how much he's able to pitch down the stretch. Here are more notes out of Chicago.

  • The Blue Jays asked the White Sox about trading for second baseman Gordon Beckham earlier this season, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. There is currently no activity on that front, however. The Jays are now 14 games out of the AL East race, and it would be surprising to see them trade for a veteran. Also, the Jays' top infielders are now healthy.
  • "At least five teams" are interested in Cubs lefty reliever James Russell, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago reports. Russell does not become a free agent until after the 2015 season, however, and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says his top priority is trading players who are set to become free agents after the season, like Kevin Gregg. "Potentially, we will be hearing from people on the guys who we don’t control after this year," says Epstein. "It would make more sense moving those guys."
  • The Cubs have already dealt Scott Feldman, Scott Hairston, Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano, and they're not sure if they're done dealing,'s Carrie Muskat reports. "There are some things we'd like to explore, and if we can find the right fit and bring value back to the organization, sure, we would be [interested]," says Epstein. Of the veterans still with the Cubs, Gregg and outfielder Nate Schierholtz appear most likely to be traded.

Crain Will Not Be Activated Prior To Trade Deadline

White Sox reliever Jesse Crain could have been a hot commodity on the trade market, but he will not be activated prior to the trade deadline after experiencing what pitching coach Don Cooper called a "slight setback" today.  Today's bullpen session was cancelled, reported Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago and others.

Crain, a free agent after the season, hit the DL on July 3rd with a shoulder strain.  He made the All-Star team with a 0.74 first-half ERA, but was unable to participate.  If Crain recovers, an August trade could be possible, though the White Sox would have to deal only with the team that wins a claim on him.

White Sox Notes: Ramirez, Peavy, Crain

8:04am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the White Sox did not turn down Martinez for Ramirez, though he wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinals are indeed interested in Chicago's shortstop.

12:29am: The White Sox have as many trade chips as any deadline seller in the majors and they're putting a high price tag on their key players.  According to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, the Sox recently turned down a trade offer from the Cardinals that would have sent shortstop Alexei Ramirez to St. Louis in exchange for right-hander Carlos Martinez, one of the many elite prospects in the Cards' minor league system.  Gonzales said the deal was "involving" those two players, so it was likely not a one-for-one swap.

The Cardinals had been relying on Pete Kozma at short ever since Rafael Furcal underwent Tommy John surgery in March, and while Ramirez's production has dropped, he still would've presented a big upgrade.  Ramirez entered Tuesday's play hitting .284/.310/.357 in 408 PA but only one homer and 23 RBI.  Ramirez averaged 17 homers per year from 2008-11 but has just 10 homers total over 1029 PA in 2012-13.  While his power isn't what it used to be, Ramirez has 20 steals (in 26 chances) this year and is one of the game's better defensive shortstops, with an 8.5 UZR/150 this season and a 7.7 UZR/150 for his career.

Ramirez still has value, but he turns 32 in September and is owed roughly $22MM through the end of the 2015 season, plus a $10MM club option for 2016 that can be bought out for $1MM.  By that token it's surprising that the White Sox weren't willing to move the veteran for Martinez, a consensus top-40 prospect controlled through the 2019 season, though as noted, there may have been more to this trade than simply Ramirez for Martinez straight-up.

The 21-year-old Martinez was ranked as the third-best prospect in the St. Louis farm system by Baseball America, and he possesses "a biting curveball" and a changeup and could both become plus pitches. His fastball has touched 100 mph but usually clocks in the 94-98 mph range.  Martinez made his Major League debut this season and has 11 strikeouts in 10 1/3 relief innings.  His 6.10 ERA is largely due to a tough outing last Friday when he allowed three runs in a third of an inning against San Diego.

Also from Gonzales, Jake Peavy and Jesse Crain are drawing a lot of interest and scouts from the Diamondbacks, Reds, Braves, Red Sox and Dodgers are expected to be in Chicago through the end of the week to watch one or both men pitch.  Peavy just recently returned from a DL stint while Crain is currently on the DL with a sprained right shoulder but could be activated by Sunday.

Bowden’s Latest: Garza, Rox, Rios, Morneau, Perkins

The trade deadline is just two weeks away, and with the All-Star Game in the rear-view mirror, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio writes that the market will pick up rapidly beginning Friday. Here are some highlights from the highly informative article penned by the former GM of the Reds, Expos and Nationals (ESPN Insider required and recommended)…

  • Bowden hears there's an 80 percent chance that Matt Garza will be traded before his next scheduled start (Monday or Tuesday of next week). The Rangers, Red Sox and Diamondbacks are still involved, He describes the D-backs as "dark horses," adding that their odds in the Garza sweepstakes would increase if they were willing to part with left-hander David Holmberg.
  • The Rockies could also be interested in Garza, but they're not clear-cut buyers right now, and the prospective cost is prohibitive to them. If they were to sell, Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle could be had. Michael Cuddyer could be moved, but only if Colorado is "blown away."
  • The White Sox have been "extremely disappointed" with offers for Alex Rios thus far. Bowden feels that offers will improve as the deadline draws closer.
  • The Justin Morneau era in Minnesota is coming to an end, and the Twins are prepared to trade the former MVP, according to Bowden. The Rays, Pirates and Yankees are said by Bowden to be possible destinations for Morneau.
  • The Cardinals, Reds, Dodgers and Braves have all inquired on Twins closer Glen Perkins and been turned away. Those four teams are all monitoring the health of Jesse Crain as well.
  • The Yankees are trying to use Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and catching prospect J.R. Murphy to acquire a bat but have had no luck thus far. None of those players figure to interest the Twins in regards to Morneau, Bowden adds, given the impending free agency of Hughes and Chamberlain and the presence of Joe Mauer behind the plate for the Twins.

Jesse Crain Rumors: Tuesday

Jesse Crain's rapidly rising trade value took a hit when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier this month with a right shoulder strain, but the right-hander is still likely to be highly sought if he returns healthy next week, as he's expected to do. Here's the latest on the White Sox setup man…

  • The Rockies are very interested in Crain given the struggles of Wilton Lopez, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Rockies have long coveted Crain, according to Renck. While Crain was born in Toronto, he attended high school in Colorado and admitted to Renck that he nearly accepted a two-year offer from the Rockies prior to signing his three-year pact with the White Sox.
  • Crain told Rob Bradford of that "it would be fun" to play for the first-place Red Sox. Crain says he's heard plenty of rumors about Boston being a potential destination for him on the trade market, and that trade rumors were frequently on his mind prior to his injury. He's now focused on getting healthy rather than where he will be pitching come August 1.

AL Notes: Mariners, White Sox, Astros, Blue Jays

Here are a few trade notes from around the American League:

  • As we approach the trade deadline with the Mariners looking more like sellers than buyers, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times took a look back at GM Jack Zduriencik's recent history at the deadline. Beginning with an ill-fated swap of a young Michael Morse for Ryan Langerhans and featuring the retrospectively painful Doug Fister deal, the net return to Seattle has not been terribly productive.
  • This year, the Mariners could be in a position to deal some relievers. Last night, we took a look at FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal's breakdown of potentially available NL relievers. Tonight, let's look at the AL crop. From the M's, Rosenthal says that veteran lefty Oliver Perez is the most likely to be dealt, with Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen also prime candidates. The latter two, however, will likely command a high price given that Furbush may just be reaching arbitration after this season as a Super Two, while Wilhelmsen will not reach arbitration until after the 2014 campaign.
  • Rosenthal also pegs the White Sox and Astros as sellers with attractive bullpen pieces. Chicago could swing a trade for stud reliever Jesse Crain if he can return in time to prove his health; otherwise, both Matt Thornton and Matt Lindstrom could hold some appeal. (Both of the latter two pitchers come with club options for 2014.) For Houston, meanwhile, the prime trade chip among its relief corps is unquestionably closer Jose Veras, who is cheap, strikes out a lot of hitters, and has been solid in late-inning work this year.
  • One other team that should look to the future, according to FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, is the Blue Jays. With the club again fading after its recent resurgence, Morosi says Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos faces a "virtually impossible" task to right the ship before the trade deadline. Rather than selling out for this season, says Morosi, the Jays should look to shore up the team's rotation to make a run in 2014 and 2015.
  • Sticking with the Jays, Morosi says that Josh Johnson — occasionally noted as a potential trade candidate earlier in the year — has been "perhaps the team's greatest disappointment this year." Johnson currently carries a 4.89 ERA in 53 1/3 innings; his walk rate is below his career average at 3.4 BB/9, though he is striking batters out at a strong 9.1 K/9 clip. At this point, Morosi suggests, Toronto may be best served by shipping Johnson back to the National League rather than looking to try and bring him back next year.

White Sox Place Jesse Crain On 15-Day DL

The White Sox have placed one of their most desirable trade chips — setup man Jesse Crain — on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain, the team announced via press release.

Crain's DL stint is retroactive to June 30, so he will be eligible for activation well in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. However, a recent stint on the DL and a questionable shoulder certainly don't do any favors to his trade value.

The 31-year-old Crain has enjoyed far and away the best season of his career and arguably the best season of any reliever in Major League Baseball this year. He boasts a 0.74 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 36 1/3 innings and recently went on a historic scoreless streak. Crain rattled off 29 straight scoreless appearances, and even when that streak came to an end, it was due to three unearned runs. He allowed his first earned run since April 12 in his final appearance before hitting the DL (June 29). Fangraphs pegs his value to date at two wins above replacement, leading all Major League relievers.

Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune tweets that Crain warmed in last night's game and adds that he could return after the All-Star break. There are 12 games that fall after the All-Star break but before the deadline, so Crain will have a bit of time to showcase his health if activated immediately. Crain was recently linked to the Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees, though nearly every contender in baseball could use some additional bullpen help.

The Sox also placed Paul Konerko on the DL with a lower back strain, but even though he's in the final year of his contract, the team has said it won't trade the long-time team captain.