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Sunday, January 28, 2007


Rockies chairman Charlie Monfort took a stab at it this week, telling The Post it is not wise to invest such a high percentage of the team's $55 million payroll in one guy, and admitted the dream of seeing Helton in the playoffs with the Rockies might never become reality.

It is clear who is driving the bus on trying to move Todd Helton. Monfort wants to eliminate a large liability off the Rockies books. He has already been rejected by LAA, the Dodgers have no room with Nomar and Loney, the Mets have Delgado, the MFY have Giambi and the rest of the league can’t afford Helton. The Red Sox are Monfort’s only partner.

At 33 and with a history of back issues (those never fully heal), Helton is less than a sure thing to produce at a high level in the future. His recent lack of power may never resurge, as was the case with Don Mattingly after his back problems. Helton’s 2006 EQA was 296. (Equivalent Average. A measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense.) Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA forecasts Helton with a 290 EQA +/- 3 points over the next four years. For comparison purposes, Kevin Youkilis’ 2006 EQA was 287. Helton is valuable, but not a superstar any longer.

With Helton’s future performance likely being less than stellar and the Sox as the only possibly destination for the Rockies to unload his contract, the Olde Towne Team should hold firm on their offer as they have all winter, highlighted in the two negotiations with Scott Boras. Thankfully, it appears that is just what they are doing.

While Todd Helton remains a fascinating possibility for the Red Sox, major league sources indicate that the Red Sox will only make a deal "if the chips are perfectly in place."

At this point, based on reports from ESPN, Fox, the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the Denver Post, it appears that the Sox do not want to move Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen since they would pickup around half of $90.1 million liability that is Todd Helton. Mike Lowell, Julian Tavarez, and Jacoby Ellsbury are some of the other names reportedly going back and forth as well. David Murphy should be tossed around as well. He would make a nice option or platoon partner with Willy Taveras in the huge Denver centerfield.

One other note from the Denver Post:

Helton, 33, has indicated to the Rockies that he would waive his no-trade clause for the Red Sox, but he is prepared to veto any deal if it is not consummated soon, not wanting to deal with an endless stream of distractions during this season and beyond.

So if a trade will get done, it could happen soon. Not only to accomondate Helton, but also give the Rockies some time to make additional acquisitions to sell seats. They already dealt their most accomplished pitcher, Jason Jennings, this winter for financial reasons. They will need to show some kind of committment to bring in season ticket sales.

The potential Helton trade will come down to whether or not the Rockies feel they can get a better deal next winter than what the Red Sox are offering now. Helton will get traded; it is just a matter of when and to who.


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