Shawon Dunston is most likely to move and Dale Murphy, Jim Rice and Joe Carter could join them this week when trade talks heat up as baseball's winter meetings go down south.
There's other business, too. Free agents Bruce Hurst and Nolan Ryan might sign. And the National League will consider a new president to succeed commissioner-elect Bart Giamatti. Former NBA executive Simon Gourdine is the leading candidate, although no vote is planned until the following week.There also may be an announcement on a new television contract.
But, the main attraction for everyone is trading. No deals are certain, especially since there are no deadlines. But the meetings always produce something - Danny Jackson, Lee Smith, Dave Parker and Phil Bradley were among those swapped last December.
One major trade reportedly was completed this year even as baseball people were heading for the meetings. A source told the Associated Press Friday that first baseman Eddie Murray was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers by the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Ken Howell and minor league prospects Juan Bell and Mike Devereaux. However, a snag developed and the deal was in limbo, possibly to be finalized during the meetings.
Among clubs looking to improve are the other division champions, Boston and the Mets.
The Red Sox have made Rice available, although general manager Lou Gorman said, "no one's called me about him."
Boggs is getting more attention. Boston has talked with Cleveland about a multi-player trade that would include Carter. Houston is also bidding for the Indians' power hitter.
"It's probably unlikely Boggs would be traded," Gorman said. "I don't think anyone will give us the value we want for him."
The Mets are in the enviable position of being able to trade a lot of decent-to-good players. What would they want? Maybe Murphy or one of San Diego's prize catchers, either Benito Santiago or youngster Sandy Alomar Jr.
"There's been some talk, not necessarily started by us, that we might trade Dale Murphy," Atlanta vice president John Mullen said. "If someone wants him bad enough, we'll listen."
Pittsburgh manager Jim Leyland said his team will go to the meetings with "open ears, not open mouths."
The Pirates, however, are hot after Dunston, particularly after failing to get free agent Scott Fletcher. Dunston is available from the Chicago Cubs, and the Mets have already inquired.
"We'd like to have a shortstop who gives us a little more thump at the plate," new Pittsburgh general manager Larry Doughty said. "If he (Cubs GM Jim Frey) still wants to talk, we'll talk. But we won't overwhelm him."
Philadelphia is also in the market for someone of Dunston's caliber.
"A top shortstop is not going to be available in a trade, but something might pop up next week," Phillies GM Lee Thomas predicted. An answer might be Garry Templeton.
The list of prominent free agents has dwindled to Hurst and Ryan.
"I think Hurst will either stay with the Red Sox or come to us," Padres GM Jack McKeon said.
Ryan's best offer so far is from California, his former team. But Houston, his 1988 club, is still considered the favorite to get him.