Rays Finalizing Minor League Deal With Kyle Crick

The Rays and right-hander Kyle Crick are working towards a minor league contract, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).  When finalized, the deal will include an invitation for Crick to attend the Rays’ big league Spring Training camp.

The 30-year-old Crick pitched for the White Sox last season, delivering a 4.02 ERA and a 28.8% strikeout rate, but also an ugly 16.7% walk rate.  These numbers came over only 15 2/3 Major League innings, as Crick was sidelined due to right elbow inflammation in June and didn’t pitch again for the rest of the season.  It seems like Crick is back to full health, as he recently took part in a showcase for scouts, and is now on the verge of a deal with the Rays.

The Giants drafted Crick 49th overall in 2011, technically within the first round of a draft that had an unusually large number of supplemental picks.  Crick was a regular on top-100 prospect lists during his time in San Francisco’s farm system, though his rankings started to stall out as he ran into some major control problems at the Double-A level.  The Giants pivoted by turning Crick into a full-time reliever in 2017, which led to his first taste of the big leagues and the first of six consecutive years for the right-hander with at least some MLB action.

After that 2017 debut for Crick, the Giants dealt the reliever along with Bryan Reynolds and some international bonus slot money to the Pirates in exchange for Andrew McCutchen in January 2018.  Crick had a 2.39 ERA over 64 1/3 frames in 2018, and with Reynolds’ emergence in 2019, this trade looked like a major steal for Pittsburgh except Crick couldn’t remain consistent.  As Crick battled both injuries and continued control issues, the Pirates released him in July 2021, with the White Sox quickly stepping in to sign Crick to a minor league deal.

Control has remained a thorn in Crick’s side throughout his big league career, as he has a 13.3% walk rate over 187 1/3 innings.  That said, Crick’s career ERA is still a respectable 3.56, as he has posted some good strikeout numbers and done a very good job at inducing soft contact.  If Crick can stay healthy and limit the free passes, he might have breakout potential as a reliable relief option.

Tampa Bay has a long history of rehabbing or reinventing pitchers that escaped the notice of other teams, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Crick found success in the Rays organization.  A big performance might be necessary to stand out from the crowd, however, as Topkin notes that Crick (assuming the signing becomes official) would be the 80th player on the Rays’ spring roster.

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