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White Sox Tue Jul 30 2013

White Sox Seller Mode Diaries, Jesse Crain Edition

Sox_200.pngThe White Sox dealt another relief pitcher Monday, trading reliever Jesse Crain to Tampa Bay for... well, we'll get to that.

Reliever Matt Thornton was traded to Boston a few weeks ago, and it's clear that a) the Sox are cashing in any non-buildable assets they have and b) relievers are the easiest position to trade and trade for. The rub to this Crain trade is that he's currently on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury. He's been out all of July, and while many thought he would be back by the All-Star game, he suffered a setback and his return is undetermined.

Because of that, the Rays worked with the Sox on an interesting trade: Tampa gets Crain, and the Sox get a package depending on how many games Crain plays for them. The Rays (potentially) bolster their middle-of-the-pack bullpen while the Sox await a return.

This is a smart arrangement for the Sox. If Crain returns quickly, then the Sox get a decent haul for him. If he returns later, then they still get a minor leaguer or cash considerations. Either way, they sidestep the waiver process by making a trade before the deadline. They got their best deal on the open market, with all 29 other teams able to deal for him, as opposed to the one club who would claim him on waivers.

Don't set a Google Alert for the player to be named later, though. Not only do relievers not fetch much in trades (especially 34-year-old injured relievers who are in the last year of a deal), but the Rays are one of the smartest teams in baseball. The odds of a surprise prospect slipping through to the Sox is very low, even if the Rays do have one of the best farm systems in baseball. But at least Chicago will get something, at maximum value.

So, Crain heads to a contender, and the Sox play the waiting game. In the meantime, they will get to work on several more deals. The next ones, though, will be more defined.

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