- Tristan H. Cockcroft, Fantasy
It's a long offseason, and in just three short months after a team is crowned world champion -- like the Chicago White Sox in 2005 -- a lot can happen. Be it via free agency or trades, a lot of players change uniforms each winter, and when a fantasy owner kicks off his or her preseason draft preparation, knowing what has changed since last season is an important first step.
To give you a head start, let's take a look at the 10 most notable changes in each league. Today, we'll begin with the American League:
10. The Seattle Mariners sign C Kenji Johjima and SP Jarrod Washburn. Adding Johjima addressed a major weakness for Seattle: Mariners catchers ranked last in the majors in OPS the past two seasons (.566 in 2005, .586 in 2004). Meanwhile, the Washburn acquisition helps boost a rotation that registered a 4.91 ERA a year ago, sixth-worst in the majors. Maybe these two moves won't propel Seattle to the top of the American League West standings, but they're interesting from a fantasy perspective. Johjima batted a combined .326 the past three years in Japan, and averaged 30 homers a season from 2001 to 2005, and although it's anyone's guess how smoothly he'll adjust to life in the States, he has the bat to crack the top 10 at his position. As for Washburn, getting out of Los Angeles should only help him. He was fourth in the majors in road ERA (2.65) in 2005 and has a lifetime 3.34 ERA and .235 batting average allowed in away games, compared with 4.61/.277 at home. The move to Safeco Field should only help him in the ratio categories.
5dDavid M. Hale