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Returning Rajai

by Matt Smith

The Oakland A’s reunion with outfielder Rajai Davis isn’t something to get overly excited about for most A’s fans.

Certainly there are ‘feel good’ aspects to it as he was something of a fan’s favourite during his first run with the club between 2008 and 2010. He was a half-glass-full squad member for the A’s, a scrappy speedster picked up off waivers from Bay-side rivals the Giants. Davis’ contributions would have been more underwhelming as a touted prospect or splashy trade signing, but as an underdog with little in the way of expectations you could enjoy what he gave the team (mainly excitement on the bases) and let him off for the rest that he didn’t.

Davis turned 36 last October and whilst his post-season near-heroics with Cleveland might trick you into thinking otherwise, clearly he’s past his best, especially at the plate. In a season in which the A’s are outsiders, at best, for a play-off push, his signing could be seen as a way to get some veteran leadership on the team, a name that the fans will recognise, and a potential July trade chip.

But I’m a little more positive than most for completely non-analytical reasons.

I was working on a half-finished bit of research during last season, which I’ll endeavour to finish before Spring Training, in which I uncovered a group of MLB players that were born in Norwich. Unsurprisingly, that wasn’t the Norwich in England where I hail from, but I liked the link all the same.  The two names that stood out most to me – admittedly they were not an amazingly impressive crop from a performance standpoint – were A’s pitcher Jesse Hahn and none other than Rajai Davis.

I never knew that Davis was from Norwich, Connecticut, when he was previously on the A’s, so I’m going to enjoy that tenuous connection during the time he’s on the team.

As for the rumours of the A’s being interested in free-swinging Mark Trumbo, well the former Angel has no such random saving grace. I’ll like that potential signing about as much as I liked the Billy Butler one two years ago, and we all know how that turned out.

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