Will Johnny Damon, Manny produce? 

February, 2, 2011
If Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez are happy, then by golly, I'm happy too. I mean, it's all about happiness, isn't it? In case you missed it, Damon and Ramirez have been reunited as members of the Tampa Bay Rays, and if Tuesday's corny, all-smiles press conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., was any indication, all is well. From a fantasy baseball sense, however, I think all is well really for just one of them.

Heading into the 2010 season, Damon and Ramirez were considered productive players. Granted, they were in decline and on the wrong side of age 35, but they still had mixed-league value. Then Damon disappointed in his lone Detroit Tigers campaign, and Ramirez didn't even seem interested in suiting up for the Los Angeles Dodgers. While Damon is the one getting the larger one-year contract ($5.25 million plus attendance incentives versus a mere $2 million for Ramirez), I don't have much faith he can improve on last season's numbers. Ramirez, however, can still rake, at least when he's motivated. I think Damon's problem is more related to his declining skill set.

[+] EnlargeDamon/Ramirez
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaJohnny Damon and Manny Ramirez will play on the same team for the first time since the 2005 season with the Boston Red Sox.
Damon still has value. He draws walks and steals the occasional base when he knows he can make it (23 for 24 the past two seasons), and maybe he can muster enough power to reach double-digit home runs. Also, he should score runs hitting first or second in a strong lineup. Defensively, the Rays will soon find he's a liability, but those statistics -- not merely his name value -- should warrant attention in 10-team standard leagues. He's just more of a fifth outfielder type now. Consider that Damon's 2010 statistics earned him the No. 58 spot on ESPN's Player Rater among outfielders. Are you thinking about drafting Cody Ross, Franklin Gutierrez, Jonny Gomes or Will Venable? They finished better on our Player Rater in 2010, and while I'd take Damon over all of them in 2011, it's not like any of them are must-owns in a shallow format.