His work hasn't attracted a lot of attention because the White Sox are struggling, currently last in the American League Central, but former Twins reliever Jesse Crain is in the midst of a magnificent season.

How good?

Working in a set-up role, Crain has a 0.57 ERA in 33 appearances for Chicago and hasn't given up a run since April 12. He put less than one runner on base and so far has 42 strikeouts and nine walks in 31 2/3 innings.

The combination of his prowess and the White Sox' struggles has made him a target of trade rumors. He was just the subject of speculation on a Pittsburgh Pirates blog and Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, interviewed on MLB TV on Tuesday, said the White Sox haven't yet given up on the season -- but things could be different in a couple of weeks.

Crain was with the Twins for seven seasons before signing a three-year, $13 million deal with the White Sox, which expires at the end of the season. One team that could well be looking for relief help is Detroit.

In the Tribune, Rogers wrote: "There’s no question that the Tigers will go out before July 31 and make bullpen moves to improve themselves for the playoffs. And don’t rule out a White Sox-Tigers deal just because the teams are in the same division. The Sox seem likely to make their decisions based on the talent they get in return, not whether they are strengthening an AL Central opponent."

According to Rogers: "Crain always has wanted to close. He was bypassed in favor of Sergio Santos and Addison Reed with the White Sox, however, so he’s sitting with four career saves at age 31. That lack of ninth-inning experience could give the Tigers pause."

Having to rely on Jose Valverde, whom Detroit signed after the season started only because all of its other options didn't work out, is also a pause-giver for the Tigers.

If you want to take a look at Crain's stats -- game-by-game and in other breakdowns -- click here.



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