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Needing little, Rays let Trade Deadline pass

Crain, Tampa Bay's lone addition, expresses excitement in joining team

ST. PETERSBURG -- Wednesday afternoon's non-waiver Trade Deadline passed with no further activity by the Rays, leaving former White Sox right-hander Jesse Crain as the team's lone acquisition.

"Nothing at all [happened]," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think Andrew [Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations,] is up there throwing stuff around, but nothing seemed to stick."

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While Wednesday ranked as relatively quiet in comparison to years when high-profile Rays players were in play, rumors were still out there. Michael Morse ranked as the most prevalent of those, as the Rays were said to be one of three or four teams interested in the 31-year-old Mariners outfielder/first baseman.

Another rumor indicated that Rays reliever Kyle Farnsworth was available, and there were mentions of infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez and outfielder Matt Joyce.

"Each one of the [the Trade Deadlines] is unique unto itself," Friedman said. "But no matter how much you prepare, no matter how much work you do, there's always a frenzy of stuff at the end and things that were unexpected."

Crain, 32, has not pitched since June 29 and has spent all of July on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder strain. He experienced a setback recently, but Friedman has said he has faith in the team's medical staff to help return Crain to good health.

"I'm really excited," Crain said. "A, to be traded while you're on the DL, it doesn't happen very often. Then to come to a team like this, first place, heard great things about them, how much fun they have, I couldn't ask for anything more. Awesome opportunity. I'm looking forward to it."

One of the best setup relievers before his injury, Crain posted a 0.74 ERA in 36 2/3 innings, striking out 46 while holding batters to a .225 average. He has yet to allow a home run. He was named an All-Star for the first time this season.

"The hope is to just get him well," Maddon said. "We don't have any specific timetable yet. All I know is that he is in the right hands with [head athletic trainer] Ronnie Porterfield and the boys upstairs. So I honestly don't know exactly the timeframe; we just anticipate it will be in time to help us."

When he returns, Crain will bolster a staff that has been the best in the Majors in July.

Friedman said compensation to the White Sox would most likely be determined after the season, but it will not center on Crain's performance. Friedman said the Rays had a good relationship with the White Sox and that there was already a framework in place.

The Rays have often stated that they are never driven by deadlines and that they work toward improving the team 365 days each year. Deals can be complicated, so the foundation for future deals can also be made during discussions leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"We've actually made a lot of big offseason trades that started around this time," Friedman said. "So we'll see what materializes from this. But the good thing is, we're in a fortunate position where we don't have any obvious, glaring issues in things that we had to address. So that allowed us to be a little more selective.

"We went through and had a lot of different conversations. And it was really about any way we could continue to fortify our depth. We were going to be aggressive to do so. We actually like the guys we have in Triple-A. But if we could do something to extend that line, that is something that we would have been aggressive to do. But nothing lined up and we're happy with the guys we have."

Maddon echoed the belief held by others within the organization when he noted that if Friedman could have found a way to improve the team, he would have done so.

"But I'm very satisfied and happy with what we have here," Maddon said. "The chemistry is outstanding. The way they interact is beautiful to watch every day. A lot of different abilities and skills to offset different moments. Again, you're always looking to make yourself better. But, with this group and the way they're playing right now. I'm OK."

The rest of the AL East got a little bit stronger, as the Orioles acquired right-hander Bud Norris from the Astros, the Yankees acquired outfielder Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs and the Red Sox acquired right-hander Jake Peavy from the White Sox.

"Our expectations in July are that the teams in the American League East are going to add," Friedman said. "And it's just a matter of who it is. And they added good players, and we added a really good reliever. We had good players in place. I think the last two months are really going to be interesting."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, Jesse Crain