When starter Ubaldo Jimenez joined the Orioles on a four-year, $50 million contract on February 19, he decided he wanted Kevin Gausman’s number 31. Gausman has gone through a handful of number changes, which CSN Baltimore’s Keely Diven explains:
Gausman wore No. 75 in spring training of last year, then switched to No. 37 for his first season in the big leagues. The Orioles’ new pitching coach Dave Wallace wanted No. 37 when he arrived, so Gausman switched to No. 31 in the first week of camp rather than turn down his new coach. That would have been the end of the number saga had the Orioles not signed Ubaldo Jimenez soon after. Jimenez wanted Gausman’s number, and as usual, he obliged and asked for nothing in return. Now, Wallace wears No. 37, Jimenez wears No. 31 and Gausman wears No. 39.
Jimenez didn’t let the good deed go unrewarded. Fellow starter Bud Norris snapped and then tweeted a picture of the two starters after Jimenez gave Gausman a Rolex watch as a thank-you for giving up the number.
Another big free agent domino has fallen at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is signing with the Angels on seven-year, $245 million contract, per Jon Heyman.
Rendon, 29, was the top free agent position player. He’s coming off of a season in which he helped the Nationals win their first championship, batting .319/.412/.598 with a league-high 126 RBI and an NL-best 44 doubles along with 34 home runs and 117 runs scored in 646 plate appearances. Rendon also continued to play solid defense at third base. During the postseason, Rendon hit .328/.412/.590 with seven doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, and 11 runs scored in 75 trips to the plate.
The Angels badly needed to make a big free agent splash this offseason, and third base was as good a place as any to do it. Rendon will now slot easily into the middle of the Angels’ lineup along with Mike Trout. It remains to be seen if the Angels are done making moves, but they could use a corner outfielder and another starting pitcher.
Humorously, Rendon has said he’d like to retire by age 35, as Jesse Daugherty of the Washington Post alluded to on the Nationals Talk Podcast. This contract will take him through his age-36 season.