First Orlando Hudson took his job, then Jim Thome took his number. At least Thome gave him a Rolex. “A very nice watch,” Alexi Casilla assures us . . .
. . . When Thome, a likely hall of famer with 564 career home runs, was acquired this winter, Casilla surrendered his No. 25 to the former Twins nemesis -- happily, he said. Now Casilla wears No. 12, the number he wore as he helped lead his team to the Dominican finals this winter.
Still, I love the whole shadow economy of uniform numbers. A couple of years ago Morgan Ensberg was turned down when he offered Wilson Betemit $5,000 for number 14 on the Yankees. Giants’ punter Jeff Feagles was the Warren Buffett of this biz, once demanding -- and receiving -- an outdoor kitchen in his vacation home in Phoenix in exchange for giving up his number 17 to Plaxico Burress. Before that he got a family vacation to Florida from Eli Manning for giving up number 10.
If I was on the Red Sox I’d jump on number 23 now in anticipation of that big Adrian Gonzalez windfall. Joey Gathright and Adam LaRoche shared it last year, so I think it’s available.