According to the Oakland A’s transaction logs on the team website, several of the prospects and rookies on the 40-man roster changed their jersey numbers on Dec. 20, just a few weeks ago. Many of these guys wore the “obvious rookie” numbers last season -- the higher ones in the 50s and 60s that are all that’s left for some late-season newcomers, the ones you usually only see in spring training. That they’ve changed to lower, more common numbers suggests to me that these are intentional picks they hope to keep for a while. Let’s have a look!
It is your destiny
Some of the new jersey numbers are taken right out of A’s lore.
25: Ryon Healy ... A classic slugger’s number, and the signature of former Oakland great Mark McGwire. Like Big Mac, Healy is a hulking 6’5. This number fits perfectly. (Last year, Healy wore No. 48.)
16: Brett Eibner ... We’ve pointed out before that Eibner fits into some of the roles vacated by Josh Reddick, including right field and best hair. Now he’s also taking Reddick’s old number, at least the one he wore for most of his A’s tenure. This number has seen some highs and lows in Oakland — Giambi, Willingham, Reddick ... and Billy Butler. (Last year, Eibner wore No. 39.)
35: Daniel Coulombe ... The last person to wear this number was Marc Rzepczynski, the resident LOOGY. He got traded last summer, so now Coulombe is the leading candidate to be the extra lefty in the pen (if not a true LOOGY). On top of that, he’s literally taking over the previous lefty’s old jersey number. It has some bigger pitching history too, between Vida Blue and Bob Welch. (Last year, Coulombe wore No. 57.)
36: Zach Neal ... The same things as Coulombe, except with right-handed swingmen Aaron Brooks and Zach Neal. Brooks was the last to wear the number, in 2015, but he was traded last winter. (Last year, Neal wore No. 58.)
These ones don’t line up as perfectly, but it’s still nice to know who will be wearing what number next spring.
13: Bruce Maxwell ... Fellow prospect Matt Olson ended up using this one last year, and a couple fun catching names wore it for the A’s in the past: Sal Fasano and Izzy Molina. (Last year, Maxwell wore No. 63.)
28: Matt Olson ... Previously worn by Eric Sogard, who is about as far away as possible on the offensive spectrum. (Last year, Olson wore No. 13.)
33: Daniel Mengden ... In A’s history, this number belongs to Jose Canseco. But of course, Mengden can’t have the retired No. 34 of Rollie Fingers, his closest mustache comp, so this is the next-best thing. (Last year, Mengden wore No. 67.)
52: Joey Wendle ... Actually, Wendle wore this number last year. Not sure why it’s listed as a change. Before him, it belonged to Yoenis Cespedes, so there are some big shoes to fill. (Last year, Wendle wore the same No. 52.)
A few notables
These fall into one of two categories: either they aren’t changes from last year, or they might not be permanent because the player hasn’t debuted or is a non-roster invite. There are some other even less certain ones that I haven’t included here — check out the rest on the 40-man roster.
1: Franklin Barreto (classic leadoff number)
3: Matt Chapman (Eric Chavez, our last Gold Glove 3B)
18: Chad Pinder (last worn by stars: Hill, Zobrist)
22: Renato Nunez (Chris Carter’s old numer)
45: Jharel Cotton (Jim Johnson wait no Pedro Martinez?)
50: Raul Alcantara (like closers Grant Balfour and Jay Howell?)
Oh and the new veterans
Trevor Plouffe and Santiago Casilla haven’t yet been officially signed, but Rajai Davis and Matt Joyce have.
11: Rajai Davis ... The same number he wore for most of his first stint in Oakland. Your old Rajai jersey is once again current! While he was gone, No. 11 was kept warm by Landon Powell and Jarrod Parker.
23: Matt Joyce ... Last worn by Sam Fuld, another lefty-hitting outfielder who is basically the opposite of Joyce in every way. Joyce has worn Nos. 17 and 20 in his career but both are taken here (Alonso, Canha).
Trevor Plouffe: He wore No. 24 for his entire Twins career. Obviously not happening here, says Rickey. And 23 and 25 are taken now.
Santiago Casilla: Last time he was on the A’s, he began with No. 46 but quickly switched to 44 for most of his time. That number is now taken by Ryan Madson. It’s also taken in San Francisco (retired for Willie McCovey), so Casilla spent his entire Giants career wearing 46. Ross Detwiler is the only player since Casilla to wear 46 in Oakland, and he’s gone now, so it’s open if Casilla wants it.