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Todd Helton....Boston Red Sox?


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Helton to Red Sox?

posted: Saturday, January 27, 2007 | Feedback | Print Entry

 

The Red Sox are engaged in trade talks with the Colorado Rockies about Todd Helton, reports Troy Renck, with no deal imminent at this point. But you could see why this would make sense for each side. In response to the Denver Post story, a major league source indicated Saturday morning that the conversations between the Red Sox and Rockies actually opened last fall, and at that time, one of the sides felt that there could be an acceptable framework to make a deal. Any trade may have to include pitcher Matt Clement, from the Red Sox perspective. It could be that the completion of the J.D. Drew deal will now reignite talks, given that the Red Sox have a clearer sense of their financial obligations.

 

For the Rockies, this would be an opportunity to move Helton's contract, and as owner Charlie Monfort told the Denver Post this week, it is very difficult to operate in a situation in which one player absorbs such a large part of the payroll. If they could get the Red Sox to eat a lot of Helton's deal and save themselves somewhere in the range of $8 million to $10 million a year, they would have much more flexibility.

 

And the Rockies have to be concerned with the decreasing production of the 33-year-old Helton. Over the last four years, his slugging percentage has dropped from .630 to .620 to .534 to .476.

 

For financial superpower Boston, however, Helton could be an extraordinary find, even at high cost. He is a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, having won that award three times, and he would complement their offense perfectly, with his ability to hit doubles, draw walks and drive up pitch counts; he is considered to be among the best two-strike hitters in baseball. Last season, in what was regarded as a subpar offensive season for Helton, he drew 91 walks, struck out just 64 times, registered a .404 on-base percentage, and averaged 3.93 pitches per plate appearance.

 

"His swing is not a power swing," said one National League talent evaluator. "And he hasn't been healthy. Our team was able to pound the hell out of him last year, pitch him inside, much better than you used to. It'll be interesting to see how healthy he is, and he needs to come back, if he's going to take a serious run at Cooperstown." (Helton has 286 career homers, 996 RBI, 1,700 career hits, nine straight seasons of averages better than .300).

 

"He's a line-drive-type hitter, and for the kind of money Colorado is paying him, they need power."

 

The Red Sox do not. They've got the power hitters. They would covet Helton's on-base percentage, his quality at-bats, his defense, especially if they were paying him only $8 million to $10 million a year.

 

We don't yet know what the composition of a Helton-Red Sox trade would be. It would make sense for the Rockies to ask for Kevin Youkilis in return, and on the other hand, the Red Sox have attempted repeatedly, since last summer, to engage other teams in conversation about third baseman Mike Lowell. The Rockies would probably prefer pitching, as Troy writes in his piece.

 

Perhaps the Red Sox would insist upon the inclusion of Lowell in the deal, and then the Rockies -- who don't need a third baseman -- might spin Lowell off to another team. We'll see.

 

The guess here is that the Red Sox would want to retain Youkilis and play him at third, because he's younger than Lowell and because he generates such tough at-bats. Conceivably, then, this could be the Boston lineup for this season, if they got Todd Helton and moved out Lowell:

 

SS Julio Lugo

1B Helton

DH David Ortiz

LF Manny Ramirez

RF Drew

3B Youkilis

C Jason Varitek

CF Coco Crisp

2B Dustin Pedroia

 

The middle of the Red Sox lineup -- from Helton in the No. 2 spot, to Youkilis in the No. 6 spot -- would chew up starting pitchers the way the Yankees' lineup does -- from lead-off hitter Johnny Damon to No. 8 hitter Robinson Cano. A trade for Helton could make the Red Sox lineup equal, in potency, to that of the Yankees, and maybe better, depending on how good A-Rod is in 2007 (A great A-Rod makes the Yankees' lineup extraordinary, while an inconsistent A-Rod changes things).

 

The money will be the key to the trade talks, of course. Helton's salary for each of the next four seasons is $16.6 million, and he'll make $19.1 million in 2011, with a $4 million buyout of a $23 million club option for 2012. His deal is regarded by some executives as baseball's worst contract, because it was so heavily backloaded, and because Helton's salary will be so high even as he nears his 40th birthday. The Red Sox will want the Rockies to absorb a lot of Helton's contract, the way the Angels wanted Colorado to, when that deal was discussed earlier in the off-season.

 

Helton also has a full no-trade clause, but may welcome an opportunity to play for a perennial contender. He has said repeatedly that if the team came to him under the premise that the best thing for the organization would be to trade Helton, he would listen earnestly; having talked with him about his situation two springs ago, I think he would approve a deal.

 

 

 

? J.D. Drew's contract could become a three-year, $42 million deal -- rather than a $72 million deal -- if he spends a specified number of days on the disabled list because of his surgically repaired shoulder, but Drew says he's very confident he'll be OK, writes Amalie Benjamin. The Drew deal promises to be scrutinized heavily, writes Steve Buckley.

 

The bottom line is this: If the Drew thing works out, Theo Epstein should get a heap of credit, because there aren't many executives with other teams who think this is going to work out; most rival executives think this will be a disaster. And if Drew is a bust, there will be lot of folks wondering why the Red Sox did not read all the warning signs.

 

If I ran the Sox, I would not have signed Drew for that kind of money. But there's a chance this deal could work out because Drew doesn't have to be The Man in this lineup. The Red Sox already have Ortiz, already have Ramirez. In effect, J.D. Drew is a complementary player. In every other situation he's been in during his career, his team desperately needed him to stay on the field and produce, but not now.

 

If Drew misses 25-30 games, it's not that big of a deal, so long as he plays in September and October. And when he is in the lineup, there will few teams, if any, that have meatgrinder 3-4-5 hitters like Ortiz, Ramirez and Drew, particularly with the patient and pesky Kevin Youkilis hitting in front of them and requiring the pitcher to throw a lot of pitches. In some respects, Drew's impact on the lineup will be like that of Bobby Abreu to the Yankees; so long as Abreu works the count and gets on base and mixes in some doubles, he's a very effective player. If Drew draws his walks, hits .280 and 25 homers, he'll be tough.

 

The differences: Abreu plays every game and always has, unlike Drew, and the contractual obligation is for only one year.

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I like this deal for the Sox. The rockies really need to trade him, so they can get something for him. They should of traded him already. They need pitching (like always). Would Murphy, Lowell, AA pitcher, and the sox absorbing most of helton's contract get it done? seems fair to me.

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I like this deal for the Sox. The rockies really need to trade him, so they can get something for him. They should of traded him already. They need pitching (like always). Would Murphy, Lowell, AA pitcher, and the sox absorbing most of helton's contract get it done? seems fair to me.

 

 

Wouldnt Happen. Colorado doesnt need a 3B, especially with as old as Mike Lowell is. Garret Akins is the future Rockie, a la Vinny Castilla in the 90s.

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I like this deal for the Sox. The rockies really need to trade him, so they can get something for him. They should of traded him already. They need pitching (like always). Would Murphy, Lowell, AA pitcher, and the sox absorbing most of helton's contract get it done? seems fair to me.

 

 

Wouldnt Happen. Colorado doesnt need a 3B, especially with as old as Mike Lowell is. Garret Akins is the future Rockie, a la Vinny Castilla in the 90s.

well, they'd turn lowell off to another team. They could get a pitching prospect for him. Murphy is playing OF now.

 

I keep hearing Ellsbury's name in that trade...Why would the Rockies want another CF prospect?...Can we say 3-way? I would like a menage-a-tois with the Fish in it for sure

I'm sure he could play right-field. Isn't Freeman their starter? He's nothing special..

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I keep hearing Ellsbury's name in that trade...Why would the Rockies want another CF prospect?...Can we say 3-way? I would like a menage-a-tois with the Fish in it for sure

 

Because the Rockies do not like Cory Sullivan (he has butted heads with their FO) and have been looking to upgrade CF. The "upgrade" they landed this offseason, Willie Taveras, isn't that much of an upgrade at all... and will probably prove to be a downgrade when all is said and done. Their other options are Jeff Salazar, Choo Freeman and Ryan Spilborghs - not great options.

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Freeman is 3rd on their depth chart as of right now. They just got Taveras, Corey Sullivan is 2nd on their chart, and they have Jeff Salazar as well waiting for his chance

http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/team/depth...ex.jsp?c_id=col

 

BTW Hawpe is their RF with .293 avg 22 HR 84 RBIs

I forgot about Taveras. If he doesn't play well enough to start, then murphy/sullivan could take over. murp doesn't necessarily have to be the immediate starter, he could begin as a bench-warmer and work his way up. They have a pretty decent OF: holliday, taveras, hawpe. Would the sox be willing to trade pedroia (i hope not)?

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