You thought Joe Maddon liked to tinker with the lineup before? Well, we might finally see the Mad Scientist unleashed this year with his new roster.

Roger Mooney takes a look at the possibilities and some of the scenarios.

The recent signings of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez may at first seem to answer the questions of who will bat leadoff (Damon) and who will hit cleanup (Ramirez)…In reality, those additions lead to more possibilities.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Andrew Friedman says he is still trying to acquire a “late-inning, kind of high-leverage, good reliever.” [TampaBay.com]
  • The Rays signed a 16-year old Dominican pitching prospect. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • Marc Topkin has more on Justin Ruggiano and Leslie Anderson being DFA’d. [TampaBay.com]
  • Here is an update of the Spring Training roster and the numbers each player will be wearing. [The Heater]
  • It has only been a year, but the new Lightning owner seems to be doing and saying the right things. Now if we can just get him to sell his stake in the Red Sox. [TBO.com]

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    15 Comments

    1. Don says:

      You ought to make a contest for the fan who can guess how many different line up cards Maddon can make up….
      He wakes up in the morning….dreaming about how controversial he can be in making up the line up…
      Think about it ..He gets more publicity with his line up card than ANYTHING he does…changing (relief) pitchers a close 2nd….he lost that last year (Benoit/Sorr)……not this year…He can’t wait…
      What else does he do? Notoriety is his goal! Results is not!

    2. leningan says:

      i was messing around with potential lineups yesterday and (against lefties) frequently ended up with Elliot Johnson and kotchman in the same lineup…I tried to figure out ways around it but it kept happening. Also, during the same exercise I found it was difficult to fit Zobrist in, occasionally leaving him out on accident. This is two-fold, I happen to think Joyce and SeanJohn should get lots of time this year, and Zobrist is almost too utility (lineup-wise and position-wise). Because you can play and bat ben almost anywhere, he often ends up playing and batting nowhere. I am glad I don’t have to make the lineup but, if anyone can deal with the infinite permutations its Maddon…

      • Derek says:

        Must be spring training lineups then, as Kotchman is about three injuries away from ever seeing a big league at bat with the rays. Elliot should also never start a game unless we suffer injuries.

        • leningan says:

          I’m not so sure… I think we will see a Kotch/Danjo platoon at 1B. The idea of Damon playing first because he’s played there in a very limited fashion before, doesn’t jive with the Rays philosophy. Neither does “wasting” Zobrist’s defensive wizardry at 1B. Elliot will start against lefties when Damon is also given a rest. Sean and Ben will be corner outfielders in these situations.

          • werD says:

            if the rays keep kotch, DJ, AND Elliot, how many pitchers do you have on the roster? you still got two catchers, right?

          • Derek says:

            Why would you platoon two lefties? One of which is horrible. Kotchman wont make this team. Damon is also a lefty. The only way he sees time there is if Dan Johnson plays worse than Pena did last year. He will have to try to be that bad, and in the event he is that bad, they will play Ben there at times. As there is a decent fielder at all other positions, youre not “wasting” anything.

            • leningan says:

              whoops! overlooked the handedness… how foolish of me. I could be wrong but still think Kotch is on the 25 man. the bench would be Shop, EJ, SeanJohn, Fuld, and Kotch. The flexibility of Sean and Ben allow us to keep a defensive specialist at 1B. I think DanJo is used predominately as 1B, but will see plenty of time at DH. who else would make the team? Jennings will be in Durham, we won’t have Felipe Lopez and EJ on the 25 man. The spot is there waiting for Kotchman. Again, I don’t know whether that’s a good thing but it’s how i see it going down.

    3. christopher says:

      I *love* Joe Madden. But the man does overthink. I STILL think he borderline lost the WS by starting the aborted game with Balfour & not Price, because “I didn’t want to put too much pressure on the kid”…which makes no sense considering Price’s usage in the Red Sox series.

      • Derek says:

        I love how people on the internet “think” they know more than guys who get paid to “overthink”

        • christopher says:

          You’re right, Derek. Definitely, just because Madden chose a lifepath(baseball)30 years ago leading him up to the decision…means that decision was right. Absolutely. Very logical. Heck, every decision is right then, yes?
          David Price was his best pitcher @ that point, was trained as a starter, & yet he chose Balfour, who hasn’t started a game in who knows how long. Fail.

    4. MJ says:

      All of a sudden Tampa (Bay) seems to have some of the best FOs in all of pro sports.

    5. John S says:

      Kotch is going to Durham.

      The Rays have a better shot of bringing in Micheal Young to play 1st baseman/2nd baseman at an annual salary of $5 million (Rangers picking up most of the contract) with the Rays giving only B-level prospects than Kotchman does making the 25 man roster.

    6. Matt Burchard says:

      DJ won’t see too much time as DH…. we have Damon and primarily Manny to occupy those positions.

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