Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Free agent arbitration: Jesse Crain

2011 age: 29 (turns 30 in July)

Free agent classification: Type B

2010 basic stats: 1-1, 1 save, 3.04 ERA (full stats here)

2010 salary: $2 million

The Outsider's verdict: Yes


Jesse Crain has been the very image of inconsistency in his career. In April and May of the past season,he allowed 13 earned runs (and 16 total) in 22 innings -- an ERA of 5.32. He was charged with just 10 earned runs the rest of the season.

Jesse Crain has pitched
in 376 games for
the Twins in his career.
He's done this before. In 2009, he was awful through July (and was briefly shipped to the minors); then he allowed nothing in September (13.1 innings, five hits, no runs). In 2008, he had three good months, three bad months. And so on and so forth.

When he's good he's very good, and when he's bad he's horrid. A radio wit dubbed him "Crain Wreck," and he's had enough disasters for the derisive nickname to stick.

Still, he was Ron Gardenhire's go-to-guy in the 'pen down the stretch. And he's the most likely of the Twins' crop of free agent middle relievers to be offered arbitration.

He's not starting from too high a base; he deserves the raise arbitration is designed to award; and there will be suitors. The risk in offering arbitration is minimal.

He indicated to's Kelly Theiser that he's interested in having a chance to close. That probably isn't on the horizon in Minnesota; the Twins went through three closers from the start of spring training and never appeared to consider putting Crain in the ninth inning role.

Closing, of course, is where the money is for a relief pitcher, and this offseason might be Crain's best chance to cash in.


  1. I notice in your picture of Crain, he's smiling. Not so for Fuentes and Rauch. Does that mean anything? ;-)

    I got to wondering when Crain was pitching well in September if he shouldn't be tried at closer. It might be just the thing for him. It may bring about the consistency we need in that role. Then again, it might be just another Crain Wreck!

  2. The Rauch and Crain photos were the spring training mugs provided by the team. The Fuentes pic was an AP game shot from his time with the Angels; I never pulled one of him with the Twins. Smiling or stern had nothing to do with it.