The Tampa Bay Rays have revealed their official Spring Training roster, featuring 73 players. Included on this list are each of the players on the 40-man roster as well as the 23 non-roster invitees who are either prospects within the Rays system or were signed to a minor league deal over the offseason.
With the publication of the list, the Rays have also revealed the jersey numbers that each player will be wearing.
Wander Franco, the game’s unanimously anointed top prospect, gets the number 5, the number that he would have worn had he been activated to play in the postseason last October.
Another top prospect, Vidal Brujan, also gets a number in the single digits as the Rays have set him up with the number 7. Luis Patino, the prized pitching prospect the Rays received as part of the return for Blake Snell, takes the number 61. The number 61 had previously been worn by Josh Fleming during the 2020 season; Fleming will now don the number 19.
Brett Phillips will no longer wear the number 14, despite his World Series heroics with the number. However, he will always have that jersey immortalized, as he has it framed on his wall at his home, along with photos of his historic Game Four moment.
Instead, Phillips will wear the number 35 during the 2020 season.
He is changing his jersey as a way of paying homage to one of his best friends growing up in the Tampa Bay area, Nate Richardson. As a teenager attending Seminole High School, Phillips was on the baseball team with Richardson. Tragically, Richardson died in a terrible accident at the age of 15 in April, 2009.
After Richardson’s tragic death, Phillips always wanted to wear the number 35 in the big leagues and he also always wanted to play for the Rays. With the 2021 season approaching, Phillips will finally get to be able to make those dreams come true and in an incredible way, honor his fallen friend.
Meanwhile, Chris Archer’s reunion with the Rays will also allow him to reunite with his old jersey number of 22. Archer wore the number 22 throughout his entire Rays career from his debut in 2012 until he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the 2018 trade deadline; while with the Pirates, Archer wore the number 24.
Here are some newcomers to the Rays 40-man roster:
Francisco Mejia gets the number 28, after wearing the number 27 for the past three seasons while with the Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres.
Michael Wacha returns to the number 52, the number he wore throughout his entire career with the St Louis Cardinals from 2013 through 2019. He wore the number 45 with the New York Mets last season.
The roster was released before the signings of free agents Rich Hill and Collin McHugh were made official, so their numbers are yet to be decided. Hill has worn the number 44 since the start of the 2016 season, while McHugh has worn the number 31 for the majority of his big league career.