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Original Issue

Fire Up the Hot Stove

Even with A-Rod, the free-agent class is thin, which means this winter's trade talk could be scorching

ALEX RODRIGUEZhas already exercised his option to be a free agent, and he immediately becomesthe most attractive player on the market. With the supply of other top-tierfree agents extremely limited, however, teams will be motivated to improvethrough other avenues. Here are five trade proposals that would benefit bothteams.

Red Sox trade CFCoco Crisp to the White Sox for 1B Chris Carter.

Boston mustunload Crisp, who was supplanted as the team's centerfielder by Jacoby Ellsburyduring the ALCS. The Red Sox' every-day lineup is set for 2008, but they coulduse some depth among their hitting prospects as they move toward the end of theManny Ramirez--David Ortiz era. The White Sox are focused on the short term, asshown by their extending the contracts of veterans Jermaine Dye and MarkBuehrle. So 20-year-old first baseman Carter, who was third in the Class ASally League with 25 homers, is expendable. Getting Crisp, 28, who is owed avery reasonable $11 million over the next two years, at a down moment would besmart shopping.

Rockies trade 3BGarrett Atkins to the Twins for RHPs Anthony Swarzak and Eduardo Morlan.

Ian Stewart(.304/.379/.478 at Triple A Colorado Springs) is ready to take over at thirdbase for Colorado, which should be looking to add strikeout pitchers to a staffheavy on contact guys. Minnesota has a glut of young pitchers and desperatelyneeds to add a bat to help Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Swarzak, 22, a starterwho projects as a mid-rotation guy, is buried in the Twins' system. Morlan, 21,struck out 12.6 men per nine innings as a reliever in high A ball and could bea 2008 version of closer Manny Corpas.

Orioles trade SSMiguel Tejada to the Blue Jays for OF Adam Lind, RHP Brandon League and LHPDavid Purcey.

The Blue Jays'window is fast closing since they'll lose the services of Troy Glaus, A.J.Burnett and Frank Thomas after 2008. With the Yankees going through atransition, it may be '08 or never for the J.P. Ricciardi regime. Tejada wouldgive Toronto a big offensive boost over the current shortstop, glove man JohnMcDonald. The rebuilding Orioles won't get the Jays' best prospect (outfielderTravis Snider), but they would get three major-league-ready guys, at lowcost.

Brewers trade SSAlcides Escobar to the Rangers for 3B Hank Blalock.

Milwaukee couldthen move Ryan Braun, the first third baseman in 14 years with a sub-.900fielding percentage, to rightfield, rightfielder Corey Hart to center andcenterfielder Bill Hall to third base, where he'd platoon with Blalock, anotherhigh-split guy. That would put two players, Braun and Hall, in positions wherethey're better suited, while stretching Hart slightly. Blalock would provide akey lefty bat for a team that lists to the right. Meanwhile, with Escobar, 20,Texas G.M. Jon Daniels would add to his collection of prospects a glove-firstshortstop who could eventually move Michael Young to third base.

Indians trade SSJhonny Peralta to the Cubs for OF Matt Murton and RHP Sean Gallagher.

Rather than movePeralta to second or third base to make room for Asdrubal Cabrera, Clevelandshould trade him near the peak of his value for a much-needed corner-outfielderbat. The Cubs made do with fan fave Ryan Theriot at short this year, butPeralta, 25, is a clear upgrade. His below-average defense with the Tribewouldn't be as much of a liability with the Cubs' high-strikeout, fly ballstaff.



GOOD MOVES Change would benefit (clockwise from top left) Peralta, Atkins, Tejada and Crisp.



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