Guys I hope Shapiro is talking to

In no particular order.

Matt Morris
He’s not the most reliable guy out there, but neither is Paul Byrd. Morris is looking for a short contract so he can hopefully build up some good will before his next contract. Sound familiar? He’s this year’s Kevin Millwood, only Morris is reportedly looking for at least two years. He’d cost a bit more than Byrd — ESPN is reporting the Giants are the front runners at more than $8 million per — but for two years, I’d be willing to roll the dice. Especially since you saved a bit of money by bringing back Wickman instead of signing Trevor Hoffman.

Frank Thomas
Okay, so I’m convinced. People have been hyping Thomas for a while as a high-risk/high-reward guy, and while I was lukewarm on the possibility earlier this winter, I’ve warmed up to it. He won’t be healthy, but he’d give you more than Juan Gonzalez did last year. Hopefully. The A’s are reportedly close to signing him, but at the right price — around $4 or $5 million, with incentives, for just one year — Thomas would be a good gamble to fill that need for a right-handed bat. He’d be better than Ruben Sierra, anyway. I’d file Nomar Garciaparra in the same category as Big Frank, though it sounds like he’s going to get multi-year offers from a couple teams, which hopefully will eliminate the Tribe.

The Devil Rays
He’s a lefty, but I’d still love to see Aubrey Huff in Cleveland next season. A good friend of mine works for the Rays and swears Huff is a bum, but I’d be in a bad mood too if I played for the Rays for my entire six-year career. He doesn’t fill the need for a right-handed bat, but Huff can play first and right and has also spent some time at third. Best of all, even though his numbers have sagged recently, the dude can hit: career .288 average; 23, 34, 29 and 22 home runs the past four years; 107, 104 and 92 RBI the past three. Oh, and he’s cheap, at just under $5 million next year. The Rays want prospects. We’ve got prospects.

The Red Sox
There’s talk that Matt Clement is being shopped around. Shapiro went hard after Clement last year but the Sox got him. I’ve heard Coco’s name being thrown around, which I’m sure Shapiro quickly turned down, but I’m hoping he at least explored the possibility.

The Red Sox
Yes, I’ve listed them twice, but I thought Manny Ramirez deserved his own entry. Yeah, it’s an extreme longshot — there’s probably a better chance that Corey Snyder will be in right field Opening Day — but, like Clement, I really hope Shapiro explored the possibility. I wouldn’t give up Coco in a deal for Clement, but for Manny? Absolutely. And I love Coco.

There are other attractive free agents (Mike Piazza, Octavio Dotel) and trade targets (Kevin Mench, Javier Vazquez), but some are more practical than others.

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