Hall of Famer Tim Raines, who has served as a Blue Jays minor league instructor since 2012, has left the club to accept an ambassadorship with the Chicago White Sox.
Raines was introduced today by the Sox, along with A.J. Pierzynski and Jose Contreras. Raines was a coach with the World Series winning 2005 team, while Pierzynski and Contreras were teammates. Raines was traded from the Expos to the Sox in 1991, and played five seasons for them.
Raines was an immensely popular instructor in the Blue Jays system, working with Outfielders and baserunners at all levels:
BLUE JAYS: Looks as if Tim Raines has left the organization to take on a position with the Chicago White Sox as a team ambassador. Raines had uncanny ability to connect with Toronto minor leaguers regardless of ability and/or background. Subtle, but poignant loss for Blue Jays.
— RobFaiNationRadioTSN (@RobFaiNation) December 14, 2017
With rumours that Raines was hoping to land a major league coaching job next season already circling, it’s no surprise that the travelling life of a minor league instructor was taxing Raines, who has a young family. Given his work with the Blue Jays minor leaguers, however, he may have been more valued by other organizatons in that role.
Raines told the Chicago Tribune that he was looking forward to working with players on the Sox roster:
“Being a part of an organization after being a player is sort of giving back … to the game, giving back to some of the players that are trying to reach their goal as far as being major-leaguers.”
Raines was a positive influence among a number of Blue Jays farmhands, including highly regarded prospect Anthony Alford:
I can’t speak much about him as a player, but I know he’s one of the best guys you will ever meet. He’s been awesome. Not only as an instructor, but also as a person. It’s always a good time working with him. He makes everything fun. When you’re having a bad day, he will find a way to make you smile. One of the most genuine guys I’ve ever been around. Everyone in the org loves him. I’m definitely a big fan of rock
There has been no word yet from the Blue Jays about Raines’ replacement. They typically announce minor league staffs several weeks before spring training.