The ability to play multiple positions is a skill that is quite common on the Rays roster. Everyone became familiar with Joe Maddon’s affection for this skill watching him use Ben Zobrist all over the diamond the past two seasons but he is not the only guy on the roster that can be utilized in a variety of positions. The table below shows the position players that are in camp that have a legitimate shot at making the 25 man roster and the positions that each has appeared at some time over the past three seasons.
This is gold to a tinkerer such as Maddon. He has seven players in camp with at least a handful of games at first base. He has six players in camp with more than a handful of games played at second base and shortstop. There are also a lot of options for the outfield which is a main reason why there will likely only be four true outfielders on the final 25 man roster in Damon, Upton, Joyce, and Fuld as several players can handle both an infield and outfield role with Rodriguez and Zobrist as prime examples. Speaking of Rodriguez, I show him at catcher because although he has no game experience at the position he is still considered the emergency catcher on the roster.
Last season, Maddon used 108 different defensive lineups along with 129 different batting orders. I am not sure if either number will be eclipsed in 2011, but the potential for more activity is certainly there.