Thoughts on Rajai’s departure
The A’s lost an outfielder today, but they also lost a gem of a person. Rajai, all by himself, seemingly accounted for nearly half of the smiles that came out of the A’s clubhouse while he was in Oakland. Nothing but upbeat and positive, he was great to cover and was always conversational — not out of necessity but just because — with us media types. I have to say I’ll miss walking into the clubhouse and hearing “Janey-Janes!!” come my way. Not sure where Raj got that one or when it started, but it was definitely a welcomed constant of my day.
That being said, I wish Raj nothing but the best in Toronto, where he’ll be closer to his Connecticut home. He played with Jose Bautista in Double-A and Fred Lewis in San Francisco, so he’s familiar with a few Blue Jays members. I know he’s still taking in the news, but he did seem excited about a new opportunity to earn regular playing time — something he seemed to only get when others were injured in Oakland. From watching him with the A’s, it did seem like he put up more consistent numbers with more consistent playing time. I’m not sure he was going to get that type of playing time next year given the arrival of David DeJesus, along with the presence of corner outfielders Ryan Sweeney, Conor Jackson and Chris Carter. Still, it’s hard to see a guy capable of 50-plus steals and exciting play land across the border. It was fun watching him learn from Rickey this year.
The move also means Jackson is likely geared for green and gold next year again, unless he’s non-tendered — something that was considered a good possibility before today’s news. Jackson never got to prove to Oakland and its fans what he’s capable of this year because of a neverending bout with injuries, and he wasn’t as big of a trade option for the A’s as Rajai because of those injuries. Assistant general manager David Forst did say the team received several inquires about Rajai, and he felt the two relievers they got in return are actually fairly close to Major League-ready. Neither Trystan Magnuson or Daniel Farquhar has surpassed the Double-A level, but the same could have been said of Andrew Bailey and Brad Ziegler when they jumped to the big leagues. Magnuson needs to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, and it sounds like that will happen by Friday.
Lots of A’s news these past two weeks…not sure things will quiet down anytime soon, though, given we’re still a couple of weeks away from the Winter Meetings. In fact, the A’s have reportedly offered high-profile free agent Adrian Beltre — who turned down a two-year contract with Oakland last offseason — a five-year deal worth $64 million. More on that rumor, plus other Hot Stove rumblings, can be found here.