In a move to shore up the bullpen, the White Sox reportedly have signed right-handed reliever Jesse Crain to a three-year, $13 million deal (updated 9:30 p.m.).
The 29 year old Crain fits the White Sox predilection for hard-throwers, as his fastball averages just under 95 MPH. He couples that with a slider, which is by far his best pitch. The knock on Crain always was that his stuff was better than the results. That changed in 2010 and many attribute that to a new approach in which he featured his excellent slider.
Crain will likely slot into the role J.J. Putz filled last season, as the primary right-handed set-up man for whomever the closer ends up being.
Three years is excessive but, considering the market for set-up relievers this offseason, it's not surprising. You can probably count on one hand the recent three year (or more) deals for relievers that have worked out okay (per usual, that one is Mariano Rivera). The dollar per year terms are under the $5 million Putz got on his two-year deal with Arizona and, in exchange for that lower amount, Crain probably wanted a third year.