Eric Mack
Tuesday January 25th, 2011

Fantasy owners have learned in recent years Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon are part-time pieces in their starting lineup. The Rays figure putting both of them together can make one good LF-DH.

Ramirez and Damon joined the Rays recently to help replace the offseason departures of Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena. They won't replace the speed and power, but they just might provide more runs if they can stay healthy with their split roles.

Ramirez will be a full-time DH for the first time in his career and it will help him stay healthier during the season. One of the greatest right-handed hitters of our generation has three kinds of hits: Laser singles, stand-up doubles and home-run trots. There will be no more running around in left field out of shape, leading to sore or pulled hamstrings. Playing the field has limited Ramirez to 104 games in 2009 (although he did have a 50-game suspension in there) and just 90 last year.

Let's consider Ramirez around the 35th-rated outfielder in fantasy at this point. He can still hit .300 with 20-plus homers and near 100 RBI in a lineup that looks a whole lot better now than it did a week ago.

Damon helps, even if he will be splitting time in left, DH and coming off the bench. He is still a threat to get on base and score runs, especially with what he will have behind him now.

We already took a capsule look at the Rays, but let's revisit it with the new additions:

Projected lineup

1. Johnny Damon LF 2. Ben Zobrist 1B 3. Evan Longoria 3B 4. Manny Ramirez DH 5. B.J. Upton CF 6. Matt Joyce RF 7. John Jaso C 8. Reid Brignac SS 9. Sean Rodriguez 2B

Top bench options

R Kelly Shoppach C R Dan Johnson DH

Zobrist becomes a full-time first baseman and will retain eligibility at second base and outfield, one of the more valuable multi-position options in fantasy (see below). That leaves Rodriguez and Brignac, last year's second-base platoon, full-timers at second and short now.

In the outfield, Joyce figures to be the choice to start in right alongside Upton so Desmond Jennings can head back to start the season in Triple-A, where his numbers were a bit mediocre a year ago. Jennings will be up before June 1, though, and sharing starts around the outfield and potentially moving Damon to a part-time role.

Damon is barely in the top 60 among fantasy outfielders this spring. That makes him a bench option in Head-to-Head formats and one of the lowest-end of the starters in Rotisserie.

Leagues with limited transactions or bench spots value multi-position eligibility highly. Zobrist will be a gem with 1B-2B-OF versatility.

Here is a look at all the multi-position eligible players on draft day. This list outlines all those with at least 20 games at these positions last season, a relative standard in fantasy. FPTS is their scoring in a standard league last season.

Uribe, now slated to start at second for the Dodgers, will be the most valuable of these with his triple-eligibility. "All-Star" Infante, now with the Marlins, is close behind.

The Angels passed on making Ramirez their DH -- apparently he isn't fit for a halo? -- so they immediately turn to the Blue Jays to get Vernon Wells. The decision was a function of defense, because manager Mike Scioscia loves pitching and defense.

The Angels now have 12 gold gloves flanking young go-getter Peter Bourjos in the outfield. Bobby Abreu becomes a full-time DH as opposed to playing left if they had signed Ramirez.

Here is a capsule look at the Angels:

L.A. Angels of Anaheim outlook

Projected lineup POS Projected rotation

1 Erick Aybar SS 2 Bobby Abreu DH 3 Kendry Morales 1B 4 Vernon Wells LF 5 Torii Hunter RF 6 Howard Kendrick 2B 7 Alberto Callaspo 3B 8 Hank Conger C 9 Peter Bourjos CF

Top bench options

R Maicer Izturis UTL R Jeff Mathis C

Projected rotation

1 Jered Weaver RH 2 Dan Haren RH 3 Ervin Santana RH 4 Scott Kazmir LH 5 Joel Pineiro RH ALT Jordan Walden RH

Top bullpen arms

CL Fernando Rodney RH SU Scott Downs LH RP Kevin Jepsen RH RP Hisanori Takahashi LH RP Trevor Bell RH Morales' return from a broken ankle is the key to making this a contender. He should still rank around the 10th-best option at 1B in fantasy. Dealing Mike Napoli away slots more at-bats for Conger at catcher, making him a sleeper, but again, Scoiscia likes his defense and will get Mathis plenty of starts.

Rodney will start as the closer, but it could wind up a committee or solely in Jepsen's hands before the end of the season. Jepsen is a nice sleeper in leagues that draft true middle men.

The Blue Jays mostly sold this winter and won't have hitting guru Cito Gaston as manager anymore. It should be an interesting year with the Blue Jays in fantasy, but you have to figure Jose Bautista, last year's homer leader with 54, will be a big, fat disappointment, if not a total bust.

Toronto Blue Jays outlook

Projected lineup POS Projected rotation

1 Rajai Davis CF 2 Yunel Escobar SS 3 Jose Bautista 3B 4 Mike Napoli C 5 Adam Lind DH 6 Aaron Hill 2B 7 Juan Rivera LF 8 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 9 Travis Snider RF

Top bench options

R J.P. Arencibia C R John McDonald UTL

Projected rotation

1 Ricky Romero RH 2 Brett Cecil LH 3 Brandon Morrow RH 4 Marc Rzepczynski LH 5 Kyle Drabek RH ALT Jesse Litsch RH

Top bullpen arms

CL Octavio Dotel RH SU Jon Rauch RH RP Jason Frasor RH RP Shawn Camp RH RP Casey Janssen RH

Lind and Hill are the cautionary tales for Bautista lovers. They just didn't match their '09 seasons a year ago. They could rebound as sleepers this go-around, along with Escobar and a breakthrough of Snider.

This team is still about pitching, and they have a pretty solid, young rotation despite some losses. Drabek could be an AL ROY candidate, but in the AL Beast, you cannot expect any of these starters to be much better than a .500 pitcher, no matter how well they throw.

Dotel opens as the closer, but a still-deep bullpen will have plenty of fallback candidates if he falters.

The Padres have written the book on how to patch a strong pitching staff together. Now, they will try to patch a lineup together, too, after sending Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox for prospects that don't figure to contribute this season.

San Diego Padres outlook

Projected lineup

1 Jason Bartlett SS 2 Orlando Hudson 2B 3 Chase Headley 3B 4 Ryan Ludwick LF 5 Brad Hawpe 1B 6 Will Venable RF 7 Nick Hundley C 8 Cameron Maybin CF

Top bench options

R Jorge Cantu 1B R Kyle Blanks OF-1B R Chris Denorfia OF

Projected rotation

1 Mat Latos RH 2 Clayton Richard LH 3 Wade LeBlanc LH 4 Aaron Harang RH 5 Tim Stauffer RH ALT Cory Luebke RH

Top bullpen arms

CL Heath Bell RH SU Luke Gregerson RH RP Mike Adams RH RP Joe Thatcher LH RP Aaron Poreda LH

Cantu's signing this week gives them an option at first base, if not a platoon with another acquisition, Hawpe. The Padres are littered with choices in the corner outfield and at first base, the most interesting of which is the power but raw Blanks. He was originally the one that made trading Gonzalez seem reasonable.

The bullpen dealt off some arms, but still should be lights out, while the rotation is anchored by burgeoning Cy Young-caliber talent Latos, who needs to stretch out to 200 innings for the first time this season. Latos will go in the top 20 among SPs, but he could perform in the top five if he can stretch out.

Eric Mack writes contributes weekly for You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy. Hit him up. He honestly has nothing better to do with his free time.

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