COMMENTARY | The bad news and bad luck for the Chicago White Sox keeps piling on. With the trade deadline less than 30 days away, the team's most movable asset has found his way to the disabled list. Jesse Crain was unable to get loose to appear in Tuesday, July 2nd's game and a day later has been placed on the disabled list. Journeyman lefty David Purcey has been called up to take his place.
To add insult to injury, Paul Konerko will be headed to the disabled list along with Crain. Konerko is a far less useful trade piece, but would have drawn some offers for sure. With this injury and his lack of production this year, it is now highly unlikely that he moves. He was likely to stay before ultimately retiring at the end of the season when his contract ends, anyway. Brent Morel will replace him on the roster, but perhaps not the lineup.
On the other hand, contending teams have made a habit of over-paying for relief pitching at the trade deadline. Crain has been bar none the best non-closing relief pitcher in baseball this season and was likely to fetch a surprisingly large return in trade at the deadline. The injury adds a significant layer of doubt as to how valuable he can be for other teams.
The White Sox are optimistic that Crain will be ready to go after the all-star break, which would allow him several appearances to prove his good health before the deadline. Assuming he can be effective in those appearances, he should still have a fair amount of value. Unfortunately, much more has to go right for him to retain a good amount of value than previously.
A bad outing or two after his return from the disabled list could have a drastic effect on his viability as a trade target, since poor performances will be connected to his injury by other general managers. This is not to mention that some teams will have already made trades for relievers by July 18, the likely day of Crain's return.
Furthermore, this is just emblematic of the type of season happening on the south side. Paul Konerko unexpectedly fell off the map in his production, Dunn and Keppinger started off horribly, Beckham and Viciedo have dealt with injuries, and the entire team seems to have forgotten how to play defense.
With the losses of Crain and Konerko and Jake Peavy already on the disabled list, there is just more evidence that everything that can go wrong will go wrong for the White Sox this season. At this rate, Alex Rios is liable to fall down the stairs and break his leg in the next week or so. Alexei Ramirez will pull a hamstring tracking down a ball at shortstop.
Maybe not everything has gone wrong, though. The general play of the starting rotation, the emergence of Conor Gillaspie and the resurgences of Adam Dunn and Jeff Keppinger have been positives. Gordon Beckham's power has not yet returned, but he has given encouraging signs to be part of the rebuilt version of the White Sox.
As I mentioned in a previous article, the White Sox also have a great deal of salary coming off the books coming into next season. Without any trades, their salary commitments for next year are about $30 million lower than this year. Very good players can be added to the team with that money. With Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Jake Peavy and Adam Dunn on the block, the amount of money available for next season could be significantly higher as well.
For 2013, though, the White Sox continue to be frustrated and to frustrate. Crain and Konerko's injuries are not anyone's fault, but they still come as no surprise for a team that has not caught a break nor made any breaks of their own.
Jacob Long, a native to the Chicago area, is a writer for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He has experience covering sports and news for WMC-TV in Memphis, TN and owns the film and TV blog The Renegade's Film Journal. Follow him on Twitter @jlongrc.
- Sports & Recreation
- Paul Konerko
- Jesse Crain
- Chicago White Sox
- disabled list