Trade deadline pickup Jesse Crain may never pitch for Rays

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Jesse Crain was on the disabled list when the Rays acquired him from the White Sox and they did so knowing there was a chance he might never pitch for them because of a shoulder injury.

Crain remains on the DL nearly a month later and manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that the reliever is “kinda stuck right now” with his rehab and the Rays will need to see “significant movement” soon or give up on him pitching again this year.

Tampa Bay gave up a player to be named later or cash considerations, with Chicago’s compensation likely being determined by how much he pitched for the Rays. It was an interesting gamble that doesn’t look likely to pay off for the Rays. And it’s especially tough timing for Crain, an impending free agent who was in the midst of a career-year before the injury.

2017 Preview: The National League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League Central

It’s the Cubs’ world and we’re all just living in it. But repeats are rare in baseball nowadays, so maybe it’s better to be on “field” than on the Cubs?

That said, who in the division has a real shot at unseating them? No one I can see, even if the Cardinals and Pirates should be competitive.

The Brewers played .500 ball this spring. Which means absolutely nothing, but I thought I’d mention it. As for the Reds, well . . . Cincinnati has some underrated restaurants and you can go across the river to Kentucky and find a super great bourbon selection at a number of stores. Make a day of it.

Our previews of the NL Central teams:

Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins