The 33-year-old Crain was in the midst of an incredible season with the White Sox in 2013 when a shoulder injury sidelined him. While it wasn’t believed to be serious at the time, Crain hasn’t thrown a Major League pitch since hitting the disabled list that July. He eventually underwent surgery on his right biceps in order to correct the issue, but recovery from that surgery was slower than expected and he missed all of 2014 after signing with the Astros. (Crain was also traded from Chicago to Tampa while injured in 2013 but didn’t throw a pitch for the Rays, either.)
Crain’s 2013 featured a dominant streak of 29 scoreless appearances, leading to a minuscule 0.74 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 36 2/3 innings of work. He’s always had plus velocity, dating back to his days with the Twins, but Crain began to rely more heavily on breaking balls upon signing with the White Sox prior to the 2011 season, and the results were favorable. In 150 innings with Chicago, Crain pitched to a 2.10 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. GM Rick Hahn and his staff will hope that the talented setup man can overcome his health woes and rediscover that form on a low-risk deal with the Sox in 2015.
As for Carroll, the 30-year-old made his big league debut for the Sox in 2014 and totaled 129 1/3 innings of work, registering a 4.80 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 19 starts and seven relief appearances. He’ll again serve as rotation depth, though the starting five may be tougher to crack this time around. In addition to Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks, the Sox acquired Jeff Samardzija from the A’s this winter and have 2014 No. 3 overall pick Carlos Rodon waiting in the wings as well. Hector Noesi, who outperformed Carroll in 2014, is expected to fill the fifth slot in the rotation to open the season.