There are now 13 days until Opening Day.
Looking back, one of the best players in franchise history donned the number for eight years, while a couple of other notable players have also worn the lucky number.
- Miguel Cario (1998-2000)
- Ozzie Guillen (2000)
- Carl Crawford (2003-2010)
- Ben Francisco (2012)
- Jason Bourgeois (2013)
- Heath Bell (2014)
- Asrubal Cabrera (2015)
- Brad Miller (2016-2017)
The 8th pick of the Expansion Draft in 1997, Miguel Cairo would be the first second baseman in franchise history, holding down the position through the 1999 season. During the 1998 season, Cairo was second on the team in fWAR (2.4), despite being putrid offensively (74 wRC+). His success would plummet over the next two years. He would become a free agent following the 2000 season.
During the 2000 season, Ozzie Guillen joined the team and Miguel Cairo gracefully allowed him to take over the number 13 — the number Guillen had worn throughout his career.
Guillen played in 63 games for Tampa Bay in 2000, providing all of his value through his defense as his bat had a bigger hole in it than Cairo’s as he put up 55 wRC+ through 114 plate appearances. He became a free agent following the season.
In 2003, Carl Crawford played in his first full season for the Rays and donned the number 13. He would become an instant sensation with his franchise altering speed, as each time he reached base, it was only a matter of time before he took off. His triples became one of the most fun plays to watch in baseball.
Eventually power came and he became the total package as he could hit at the top of the lineup, provide stellar defense, and had pop as well.
He would stay with the Rays through the 2010 season before leaving for free agency. Overall during his time with the Rays, Crawford hit .296/.337/.444 with 104 HR, putting up 107 wRC+ and accruing a total of 30.9 fWAR.
Since Crawford’s departure, the number 13 has been in a state of flux as several players over the years have donned the number.
From 2012 to 2014, three separate players wore the jersey over the three years, with none of them serving very long with Tampa Bay.
Asdrubal Cabrera signed a free agent prior to 2015 and served as the team’s starting short stop during that season. He provided the club with a solid year, accruing over 2 fWAR and setting a new team record for HR by a short stop.
Brad Miller was acquired during the 2015-2016 off-season and was slated to compete to be the Rays starting shortstop. He won the position, but over the year, he would moved around the diamond to better suit the team’s needs. Where they put him, he still put up a fantastic offensive showing as he pummeled 30 HR during the 2016 season.
Unfortunately, injuries would plague him throughout the 2017 campaign, causing his power numbers to dwindle.
Check back tomorrow as the countdown continues.