Friday, December 12, 2014

The Numbers Game

The Red Sox have a rotation.

With the signings yesterday of Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson to add to incumbents Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly there's a 5-man rotation with MLB experience. In the shadows we see Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes, all of whom got a cup of coffee in the Big Show late in the 2014 lost season. Plus, we keep hearing about Henry Owens as the Ace of the Future. That's a pretty good front five and backup.

So what do they get for numbers?

We already know that Pablo Sandoval will get his #48 that he wore in San Francisco, and Hanley Ramirez will get #13 that he wore in LA.

Porcello has spent his entire career in Detroit, wearing #48, then #21. We've already eliminated #48, and #21 was worn by Roger Clemens and, despite Clemens' defection to Toronto (to be "closer to home"), then New York, then Houston, then New York again, the Red Sox have not given anyone #21 since Roger last wore it in 1996. He wore 21 for 451 of his 709 MLB games.

Justin Masterson wore #63 as a Red Sox pitcher in 2008 and 2009, and also wore 63 playing for the Indians and Cardinals. A total of 240 games. Ranaudo has only worn 63 for 7 games, so let's give it to Justin and have Anthony pick something else.

Wade Miley has worn #36 for the Diamonbacks but Junichi Tazawa wore 63 for his first three years, taking the number when Masterson was traded, then flipped the digits and became #36. So Miley needs to do a search.

What's available?

The choice is surprising. Let's just look at the top 50. David Ross is unsigned, so #3 may be available. Allen Craig is the 8th outfielder and had a horrible 2014, so #5 might be on the table (I'm surprised that Craig got a great number like 5). 7 was Jemile Weeks, who was just dispatched, so the Trot Nixon/JD Drew/Stephen Drew number is up for grabs. Jonathan Herrera is history, so someone can get 10. Will Middlebrooks has 16, but with Sandoval, who batted 80 points higher, signed to patrol the hot corner, who knows whether Will will still be around. Tory Lovullo has 17, but coaches' numbers are easy to grab - like Hanley taking 13 from Brian Butterfield.

Gone are Ryan Lavarnway,, Felix DuBront and Brandon Snyder, so 20, 22 and 23 are up for grabs. Hitting Coach Greg Colbrunn, pitcher Alex Wilson, Jon Lester, of course, and Craig Breslow are gone, so add 28, 30, 31 and 32 to the pile.

Also gone are Burke Badenhop, Corey Brown, AJ Pierzynski, John lackey, Jake Peavy and Ryan Dempster, so 35, 39, 40, 41, 44 and 46 can be had for the asking.

Not available?

No one will get 24, they are keeping that under wraps. Not for Manny, but for Dewey, who wore the number for 19 seasons. They won't give anyone Varitek's 33, Pedro's 45 or Wakefield's 49.

I know what you're thinking...

...Did he fire 6 shots or only 5? Sorry, I meant to say what number does Cole Hamels wear? Why, 35, which is on the available list.

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