PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- No negotiations were involved. Equipment manager Kevin Kierst simply approached outfielder Andrew Brown and told him that his No. 47 jersey was now No. 30.
In retrospect, Brown says, "I wish I could have been able to negotiate" with reliever Jose Valverde, an 11-year big league veteran who has worn No. 47 for seven of those years. Valverde settled for No. 46 from 2010 to 2013 with the Tigers, who have not assigned No. 47 since Jack Morris' retirement in 1990. But now that he's with the Mets on a Minor League deal, he jumped at the opportunity to reclaim his old number.
Not that Brown is complaining. He wanted a lower number anyway, since he spent most of last season lumped with high-numbered pitchers in visiting clubhouses around the country. It may be customary for free agents to purchase their old uniform number with an expensive gift such as a watch, but Brown did not consider that necessary.
"Everyone's happy," he said of his transaction with Valverde. "That's all that matters."