The unfortunate reality has been the expected outcome for Crow for about a week’s time now. Losing Crow for the year and losing Preston Claiborne for at least one month has thinned out Miami’s bullpen bullpen depth, and those injuries are likely a driving factor behind the team’s reported interest in adding a bullpen upgrade.
The Marlins sent left-hander Brian Flynn and Minor League righty Reid Redman to the Royals to acquire Crow this winter, but the former first-round pick won’t throw a pitch in his new environment this season. Crow delivered generally strong ERA and strikeout marks for the Royals from 2011-13, working exclusively out of the bullpen, but he struggled in 2014; Crow’s ERA spiked to a career-worst 4.12, and he posted the worst K/9 (5.2) and ground-ball (43.2%) marks of his career.
Miami acquired Crow in the hope that it was buying low on a previously successful reliever with two years of team control remaining at a not-unreasonable price. Crow is earning $1.975MM this year after avoiding arbitration for the second time. Speculatively speaking, the injury presents the possibility that Crow will be non-tendered next winter. Miami’s payroll is among the league’s lowest, so the preference may be to cut Crow loose and try to re-sign him to a cheaper deal. However, that also poses the team with the risk of losing Crow and receiving nothing from the trade that brought him to Miami in the first place.
The Royals selected Crow with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and while he didn’t develop as they’d hoped in the rotation, he’s spent four full seasons in a Major League bullpen. In 233 2/3 Major League innings, Crow has a 3.43 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, a 49.2 percent ground-ball rate and an average fastball of 94 mph.