A report from this morning from CBS Chicago writer Phil Rogers suggests that the Atlanta Braves may have a “done deal” in hand for White Sox closer Jesse Crain once he is able to demonstrate that he is back to form.
This showcase is expected to begin this weekend, but involves a fairly narrow window of opportunity. Crain, an All-Star, was put on the disabled list nearly a month ago (his last appearance was June 29th) with what is said to be a relatively minor shoulder problem. The fact that has has yet to return does not change this report, and the expectation is that he could be available for the White Sox by this weekend – which would also likely mean a rehab appearance before then.
Crain’s presence (and 0.74 ERA) would indeed be a big shot in the arm (no pun intended) for the Braves. Even if he is somewhat rusty, I’m pretty sure Atlanta would be happy with something anywhere near that prior performance. As opined earlier today, the presence of a veteran like Crain would allow the currently-overworked Craig Kimbrel a much-needed respite from the lengthy outings he has had lately.
No word at all on what the Braves might be willing to give up to “rent” Crain for the rest of the year. He is approaching the end of a 3 year, $13 million deal with Chicago, which would mean that Atlanta would have to absorb as much as $2 million of his salary through the end of the year… definitely affordable for Atlanta.
Other teams that would certainly be in the mix for Crain’s services include division rival Detroit, plus the Dodgers.
The Braves and White Sox have a good history of dealing with one another – recently for some minor leaguers… perhaps some that hitting coach Greg Walker might have piqued Frank Wren’s interest about. The last major trade between the teams involved Javier Vazquez – way back in December 2008. That was the deal sending Brent Lillibridge and Tyler Flowers to Chicago for Vazquez and Boone Logan. Two other minor leaguers were involved.
In December 2010, Scott Linebrink went from Chicago to Atlanta for Kyle Cofield. Cofield, an 8th round pick in 2005, has not reached the majors, and is currently with AAA Albuquerque in the PCL (Dodgers).
One word of caution: this is probably one of the more strongly-phrased reports I’ve seen… but it’s also the only one reporting such a deal. Nonetheless, it rings true as it certainly makes sense for all parties concerned.
We’ll see how it plays out next week.