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.