In the American League, how you spend at designated hitter is just as dependent on the quantity of hitters at the position as it is on the quality. Last year, there were almost a dozen options available in leagues with 20-game positional requirements. This year, there aren't nearly as many choices. Strategically, this actually makes things somewhat easier. You can be more comfortable paying for value for most of the guys at the position without worrying about getting "locked out" of a better option later.
THE BIG BATS
Is Butler going to get any better or is this it for him? At Age 26, there could be a moderate power boost, but I'm not certain it's going to happen. It's probably safer to pay him in the low $20s solely based on last year. Montero is DH-eligible in leagues where his minor league games don't count, catcher-eligible in leagues where they do. There's no doubt that Montero could be an elite power bat, but I'd avoid an $18 bid this year. He's moving from a very favorable hitting situation to a very poor one and that line-up around him isn't that good. Even if he hits, the RBI and runs simply might not be there. Papi is the bargain of the group here. He earned $27 last year and despite his advanced age just seems to keep on ticking. Eighteen is a very safe price.
THE LOTTERY TICKETS
Hafner was probably worth more than a $1 bid. He's a shell of what he once was, but 10-15 HR with a .280 average is nothing to sneeze at on the cheap. There's always the risk he gets hurt again, but Pronk should go for at least $3-4. Vlad and Manny are spec plays at this point. Vlad's a great gamble if he signs somewhere, while Manny could work out after he serves the 50 games of his truncated suspension. I don't mind plays like this if the rest of your roster is strong, but generally prefer getting players who actually have a shot at playing.