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Merry Christmas...

and today, I'm going to suggest a gift that Jim Hendry could wrap up and give to all of us for the holidays, whichever one you celebrate.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box, and Hendry has shown us that he will do so, and with good results.

Most of us have been thinking that the Cubs must, if they trade Sammy Sosa, sign or trade for two established power hitters, one replacing Sammy, the other replacing Moises Alou.

Here's my idea.

Trade Sammy, to whoever -- Mets, Orioles, Tigers, Royals, Japan, anywhere out of town. Then use the savings to sign Carlos Beltran.

Then sign Dustan Mohr. Yes, I know Mohr wants a fulltime job. And so, my proposal is: give it to him. With the Twins he was an above-average right fielder, although his range factor declined last year with the Giants. He could play RF, Beltran CF, and Patterson LF. Or flip Patterson and Mohr -- last year Patterson showed that he had an above-average major league arm. He could certainly handle right field at Wrigley Field.

In Mohr's last full minor league season, 2001 in New Britain, he hit .333/.395/.566 with 24 HR. That's in the Eastern League, a pitcher's league. Mohr cut way down on his strikeouts last year and raised his walks and batting average.

And, he could be signed cheap. He played for $342,000 last year in SF. I'd bet you could get him for $1 million or less, maybe $1.5 million for a two-year deal.

I've got a feeling about this guy. There are plenty of major leaguers around who were platooned or were part-time players like this in their early 20's, who became big stars later. David Dellucci is a guy like this, though he has never played fulltime, and he just got a two-year deal with the Rangers, similar to the one I just proposed for Mohr -- the difference being, Mohr is three years younger and could be right on the cusp of stardom. If he doesn't work out full-time you could platoon him with Todd Hollandsworth, although he has in his career hit righties better than lefties.

Take a chance, Jim Hendry. You won't regret it.