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A long winter break is something you shouldn't come off of too quickly - you could sprain something.
So, I'm going to mull over my fantasy baseball draft kit for another week before I start handing out the goodies.
Instead, let's look at some players at the center of off-season moves that could have major significance for the fantasy season to come:
Robinson Cano. 2B, SEA: Signed with Mariners as a free agent. The park dimensions have changed enough in Seattle that there shouldn't been any related subtraction from Cano's typical numbers. He is not very well protected in Seattle's lineup, but with so many injuries in New York last year, he wasn't protected there either and still managed stats that arguably keep him as a top five fantasy player going into this season. The question mark here is whether the 31-year-old will start to show his age.
Prince Fielder, 1B, TEX: Traded from the Tigers to the Rangers, where he will play more games in a much better ballpark for an aging power hitter than Detroit's Comerica Park. What troubles me is his AVG, OBP and SLG numbers all dipped big-time last year. He's still a 100-RBI man, but there isn't any reason to see him as any higher than the early second-rounder he was before.
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF. NYY: Signed with the Yankees as a free agent. He proved last year that he could still break 50 stolen bases (52) when he remains healthy for a full year. His other numbers were substandard: 9 HRs, 53 RBIs, .298 AVG. Yankee Stadium's right-field fence is more of a chip shot for left-handed hitters than Fenway Park's odd dimensions. Could he return to 2011's massive output of 32 HRs, 105 RBI, .321 AVG? Hard to see that happening, but better numbers all around than 2013 for sure.
Mark Trumbo, 3B/1B/OF, ARI: Traded from the Angels to the Diamondbacks. His power numbers have inched up each of the last three seasons to 34 HRs and 100 RBIs last year, but his strikeouts have risen more quickly to a career high of 184 last year. Switching leagues probably won't end the latter trend, and he won't have Mike Trout to drive home anymore.
Those are a few of the biggest moves, but here are a few smaller ones worth watching, too:
Adam Eaton, OF, WHITE SOX: Traded from Arizona to Chicago in the three-team Trumbo trade. Eaton is a former top prospect with injury issues, but could easily be among league leaders in stolen bases.
Joe Nathan, RP, DET: Signed with the Tigers as a free agent. Nathan is getting into a pretty perfect closer situation as far as the park, lineup and starting rotation are concerned, though he is 39.
Josh Johnson, SP, SD: Signed with the Padres as a free agent. Notoriously injury prone, but he will pitch a lot of games in a big park.
Next week: The Fantasy Fix Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit, Part 1- SPs and Catchers.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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