With the news of Manny Ramirez's retirement, the Rays are left with yet another void at the DH position. Through their 14 year existence the Rays have gotten comically awful production out of their DH's, ranking last in the AL with a .328 wOBA from 1998-2011. Now that Manny is gone, where should the team turn?
Recalling Casey Kotchman
It's official, Casey Kotchman will serve as the primary first basemen with Dan Johnson moving to DH. It's not the most desirable play the Rays could have made. This leaves Damon in left field with Sam Fuld going back to fourth outfielder duty. While Kotchman's glove is a bonus, his bat is not. The Rays offense is already struggling, adding Kotchman to the mix wouldn't be a vertical move.
Recalling Desmond Jennings
With Damon in left field, Upton in center, Joyce/Zobrist in right, and Manny at DH there was no room for Jennings. Now that Manny is out of the picture that does open up a spot if the Rays so chose, with Damon moving to DH. However, because of the Super 2 rules, it's beneficial to the Rays in the long term to keep Jennings in the minors for a bit longer (think June-ish). Kotchman may be a placeholder until that happens.
Recalling Robinson Chirinos
Because of his age, 27, Chirinos is not effected by the Super 2 rules. The Rays love his bat, and with as bad as the Rays backstops have been at throwing runners out he could fill in right now at catcher. Kelly Shoppach could DH against LHP while Damon filled in against RHP with Fuld in LF.
None of this is what the Rays envisioned when they started this season. At this point, nothing seems to be.