Chicago White Sox' reliever Jesse Crain is expected to return from a right shoulder strain next week, and the trade market for him is heating up in anticipation of his return. The Colorado Rockies are among the teams who are "very interested" in Crain, according to the Denver Post's Troy Renck. The Cardinals, Reds, Dodgers and Braves have also been monitoring the health of the All-Star, according to a report from ESPN's Jim Bowden.
Crain, 32, is 2-3 with a 0.74 ERA, 11.3 K/9, and 2.7 BB/9 in 36.2 innings of work on the season. With the White Sox in full sell mode, many have speculated for weeks that they will be able to obtain a substantial return for the right-hander, who is a free agent after the season.
Those trade plans were put on hold on July 3rd, when the team placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. He will be eligible to return this week, and will try to showcase his health to the many teams who are looking for relief pitching help.
The Red Sox, who already acquired Crain's ex-teammate Matt Thornton from Chicago, have also been linked to Crain, Addison Reed and Matt Lindstrom. Crain told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he "would be surprised" to see Boston take another White Sox' reliever, but that the first-place team "would be fun to play for". According to a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Orioles and Yankees are also expected to be involved in the Crain sweepstakes.
According to reports, the White Sox are willing to trade anyone on their roster other than Paul Konerko and Chris Sale. Pieces like Lindstrom, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy will likely be on the move before the deadline.
With as many as eight teams already linked to Crain, the White Sox would be smart to move him in the next two weeks. His value has never been higher than it has been this year, and his status as a free agent at the end of the season makes him a perfect candidate for a midseason trade.
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