With the massive penalties MLB has imposed on the Houston Astros filling the headlines, it seems appropriate to look at something thoroughly unrelated.
The current group of Minnesota Twins off season acquisitions consists of five players; while that list could expand, the five signed now have already been assigned their 2020 jersey numbers. They are as follows:
Homer Bailey: #15
Last worn by: Jason Castro, 2019
Twins fans have fond mound memories of #15 in the form of Glen Perkins. After Perkins retired, Castro, who wore #21 during his first season in Minnesota, switched to the number he’d worn in Houston. Bailey wore #34 during his entire tenure with the Cincinnati Reds, but that number is retired here for Kirby Puckett, and the #21 he wore with the Royals briefly last year is currently donned by Tyler Duffey. In selecting #15, Bailey keeps the number he last wore as a member of the Oakland Athletics.
Alex Avila: #16
Last worn by: Jonathan Schoop, 2019
The three numbers Avila has worn in his career are all currently taken: #13 (his longest worn) by Ehire Adrianza, #31 by Devin Smeltzer, and #5 by Rocco Baldelli. Avila’s #16 last belonged to Schoop, who had not previously worn a double-digit number; before Schoop, Adrianza had worn #16 but switched to #13 last year.
Tyler Clippard: #36
Last worn by: Robbie Grossman, 2018
Clippard has worn #19 or #36 for most of his career; #19 belongs to Ryne Harper, but #36 was vacant, having remained unworn all of last season in Minnesota. The number had previously belonged to Robbie Grossman, still a meme-tic legend around these parts whenever his name is mentioned.
Matt Wisler: #37
Last worn by: Juan Centeno, 2016
If we are including coaches, the last Twin to wear #37 was first base coach Jeff Smith in 2018. Still, as it stands, 37 is a generally unpopular number in Minnesota; the only Twin to wear it longer than three seasons was Scott Stahoviak for six years in the mid-’90s. Wisler wore #37 during his first two seasons in the majors (2015-16 with the Atlanta Braves) but has not worn it since. Centeno’s regular presence in 2016 (55 games played, 33 more than the next-highest total in his career) serves as a reminder of how dreadful that season was, though the journeyman catcher (0.7 bWAR) can’t be said to have been too bad a reason for that.
Rich Hill: #44
Last worn by: Kyle Gibson, 2019
While #44 is traditionally the number of power-heavy sluggers, Twins fans have seen it on the mound for seven straight seasons and will continue to see it there for at least one more. Hill has worn the number during his four-year tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers and will keep it in Minnesota; interestingly, he never wore the number before joining the Dodgers.
Here’s hoping for more signings with more numbers to discuss.