FORT MYERS, Fla. — It sounds as if we have resolution to the uncomfortable situation regarding the No. 20 Twins uniform — and the two people who want to wear it.
Eddie Rosario will keep his No. 20, while newcomer Josh Donaldson said that he’s planning to wear No. 24, the players told me Tuesday.
“It looks as of right now that I’m probably going to keep my number ,” Donaldson said, gesturing to his equipment bag with the 24 on it.
Sometimes when a star player joins a new team, there will be concessions made. Either a teammate willingly hands over a uniform number that he knows is important to his new teammate. Or, in some cases, there’s some financial compensation for the right to a number. A nice watch, perhaps?
In the case of Rosario, he said he’s talked with Donaldson. He respects the former MVP, he says, but he’s not interested in giving up his number.
“It was a short conversation but nothing crazy, nothing bad. It’s not for me, it’s not for him, it’s for my family and for all the people in my city in Puerto Rico that have the number,” Rosario said. “That’s what I’m thinking. It’s tough but I said to him, “I respect you a lot man, but this is my number and I have five seasons [in the Majors],'”
Rosario says that Donaldson told him it’s OK.
Rosario is, hypothetically, a candidate for a contract extension this spring. Then again, if he and the Twins don’t reach a deal, he’ll be a free agent after next year. His name also was mentioned in trade rumors across various baseball websites and social media platforms this winter. All of which is to say, Donaldson is the more accomplished players and he could well be in Minnesota longer. The third baseman is sure to be here four years, and perhaps five if things work out well for him and the Twins. (And for what it’s worth, if they work out that well, then Donaldson will be approaching Hall of Fame conversations, in the same way his new teammates Nelson Cruz could be soon.)
At first glance, one would think that the clearly more established player would get a concession in this case. Especially when 20 has become so associated with Donaldson over the years. Even his Twitter handle, @BringerOfRain20, bears the digits.
But Rosario said he has his reasons for holding firm.
“That’s the number that everybody loves right now in my family. And people in Puerto Rico, all the fans that paid to get my jersey in Minnesota. That’s what I’m thinking. Not everybody has money to pay [for another jersey] if I change now. I’m thinking for everybody,” Rosario said.