After suffering through last weekend's early dose of winter weather, Page 2 needed to get out of Connecticut in a hurry. Luckily, our bosses confused our request for winter meetings with a request to cover baseball's winter meetings and approved airfare. Eschewing New Orleans for Hawaii, we set up shop at the Quality Inn in Wahawia and started talking trades. Two days and several cases of our favorite beverage later, we emerged with some trades we'd like to see.
And don't worry, Nomar, none of them involve Alex Rodriguez.
Randy Johnson for Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford
The Yankees and Red Sox are Christmas shopping with the best of them, but what's a good feud without a pair of gunslingers from the Old West? George Steinbrenner is itching to counter Boston's splashy acquisition of Curt Schilling -- especially since Andy Pettitte has taken his left arm to Houston -- and the Diamondbacks are still hemorrhaging money, if you listen to Jerry Colangelo.
|Doesn't George need a lefty now to replace Pettitte?|
That sets the stage for this shocking deal, one which could ultimately wind up with 2001 World Series co-MVPs Schilling and Johnson locking horns in Game 7 of the ALCS. The Yankee farm system is a little depleted after the Javier Vazquez deal -- unless Colangelo needs a quarterback -- but the Bombers still have some names that would get the turnstiles clicking in Arizona, where the fan base knows more about medic alert bracelets than mp3 players.
George Steinbrenner for John Henry
If the Johnson deal falls apart, we've got another Bronx blockbuster up our sleeves. And you thought it was a big twist when castaways traded tribes on "Survivor." This deal would be worth it for the newspaper headlines alone, although the battle of wills between Steinbrenner and wunderkind Theo Epstein might follow a close second. Generations of Red Sox fans have claimed they would sell their soul for a World Series title, so let's put that talk to the test. Meanwhile, a week after this deal, Joe Torre would be doing cartwheels around Yankee Stadium with a full head of black hair and skin smoother than frozen yogurt.
Torii Hunter, Corey Koskie, Carlos Beltran, C.C. Sabathia, Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Angel Berroa and Mike Sweeney to the Chicago White Sox
It's time for the AL Central to stand up for itself. The Red Sox and Yankees are locked in a cold war, and AL West foes Seattle and Anaheim are spending enough to at least play the role of England and Germany in this struggle. But the AL Central is starting to look like Central America -- a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to put your money on them in the game of global domination.
The meek can inherit the pennant, but it requires a little cooperation. The Royals and Twins have decent talent, but neither team has the money to dream of leading our scheme. Detroit owner Mike Ilitch says he's willing to spend money, but the Tigers' talent base is thinner than the toppings on one of Ilitch's pizzas. And Cleveland? Let's just let it enjoy LeBron. That leaves the White Sox, who have both a little money and a little talent. With the best of the division assembled in the same uniforms at U.S. Cellular Field, a baseball revolution might unfold.
|Vick needs a coach who would really let him cut loose on the field.|
Michael Vick for Patrick Ramsey, Rod Gardner and Lavar Arrington
The NFL needs some excitement. In a world where parity runs amok and there's a real threat of Trent Green squaring off against Matt Hasselbeck in the Super Bowl, pro football fans need something besides point spreads and fantasy leagues to captivate them. Our answer? Steve Spurrier calling plays for Michael Vick. Sure, the Falcons will be a little loathe to trade away the league's most marketable commodity, but they've got to be concerned about his durability, and the prospect of Atlanta's new Daniel Snyder Field ought to seal the deal.
And with Spurrier calling pass plays where Vick throws deep posts to himself and double-reverses to the quarterback, we'll have a reason to stay up late on Monday nights. Besides Lisa Guerrero, of course.
Bobby Knight for Maurice Cheeks
Call it karma catching up with the General. Trading Bonzi Wells signaled the beginning of the Blazers' attempt to reshape their image, but it's going to take some time to clean up this mess. And while Cheeks has done a commendable job with this collection of headcases and malcontents, what would be better theater than watching Knight interact with Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire and Ruben Patterson?
Martin Sheen for Bam Margera
After five seasons, it's time to admit "West Wing" has jumped the shark. The once snappy dialogue is fading and the plots are starting to stretch the bounds of credibility. President Bartlet has done everything but get caught with an intern in the Oval Office, and we're not putting that past the producers for spring sweeps. What the show needs is a fresh face and edgy outlook, and the star of MTV's "Viva la Bam" definitely qualifies on both counts. There could be no higher comedy than President Margera deciding to build a moat around Missouri or skateboarding through the Pentagon with the King of Norway and Secretary of State Raab Himself.
Jennifer Lopez for Gwyneth Paltrow
While the recent announcement that Paltrow is both pregnant and married to Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin might throw a wrench in these negotiations, it's time to end the "Bennifer" saga. From the sight of J-Lo sulking through a Red Sox playoff game to the on-again, off-again wedding plans, it's clear the magic is gone. More importantly, future generations -- think the Osbourne kids -- need to be protected from the offspring of a celebrity couple with far more name recognition than talent. With Affleck back in Paltrow's arms and Lopez dealt to Martin, at least one member of each couple would have the genes that might save us from a future MTV series.
The only real concern with this deal is Affleck and Paltrow might feel compelled to make a remake of Gigli.
|We'd watch Keira Knightley chew gum, let alone play poker.|
Jessica Alba, Keira Knightley and Ashton Kutcher for any Celebrity Poker cast
This is actually part of a three-way deal in which the producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker are swapped for producers from the Spike Network. And with Alba, Knightley and Kutcher -- hey, we're all about equal-opportunity sexploitation -- replacing the likes of Hank Azaria and Don Cheadle, we're ready for some Celebrity Strip Poker.
And you thought nothing could knock CSI off the top of the Nielsens.
BCS poll for Electoral College
We kill two birds with one stone on this one. With no schools likely to get the necessary plurality of electoral votes -- although USC won't have room to gripe after collecting California's 54 votes -- the race for college football's title game will head to the House of Representatives. And given Congress' apparent fascination with fixing the BCS, we can't think of a more informed group to entrust an issue of such national importance. The only problem is they may not decide on the matchup until 2005. Meanwhile, apathetic voters won't have to not worry about going to the polls in the 2004 presidential race. Instead, the election will be decided by a collection of newspaper writers, coaches and seven guys with computers.
Just like Canada.