January 27, 2007


Helton to Red Sox? (Buster Olney, 1/27/07, ESPN)

For financial superpower Boston...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 Sox are apparently looking at paying just $8 million a year for him and dumping both Mike Lowell and Matt Clement (and possibly Julian Tavarez) in a deal where the main guy going to Denver would be Craig Hansen. Kevin Youkilis just moves over to 3b, where he may even be a better fielder than Lowell at this point.

A trade with possibilities: Helton would be intriguing acquisition (Nick Cafardo, January 28, 2007, Boston Globe)

Major league sources told me yesterday that the Red Sox aren't jumping through hoops to make this deal. It's been proposed to them by the Rockies. The Sox love the concept, but they won't do anything that stretches their boundaries financially or means giving up prominent young players.

According to a Rockies official, they would have to get one or two young players who would make an impact in the near future. Colorado doesn't want to lose the popular Helton, take on a veteran at the end of his contract, and a year later have nothing to show for it.

"They [Red Sox] like their team as it's constituted," said one of the sources. "It would be surprising if they gave up young pitching. Helton would be a great hitter in that ballpark and he's their type of player in that he's patient and he'll work the count."

Helton is 33 and has five years remaining on his deal at $90.1 million (including a $4.6 million buyout for 2012). There is concern that as he ages, he'll decline to where his production doesn't match what you're paying him.

Presumably, the Red Sox wouldn't be against giving up Mike Lowell (possibly to San Diego for a reliever such as Scott Linebrink) and moving Kevin Youkilis to third. Or they might get Colorado to bite on Lowell; the Rockies already are interested in Julian Tavarez. That way, the Sox could keep their young pitchers, but you have to think Colorado would need at least one young pitcher in a package deal.

Helton trade up in the air (Tracy Ringolsby, January 27, 2007, Rocky Mountain News)
Boston, in an effort to get rid of contracts it doesn't want, has proposed including third baseman Mike Lowell and right-handed reliever Julian Tavarez in the deal to offset some of Helton's contract. Lowell will earn $9 million in 2007, the final year of his contract. Tavarez is guaranteed $3.1 million in 2007 with a $3.85 million option for 2008 that is guaranteed if he makes 65 appearances in 2007.

The Rockies had a strong interest in Ramirez, anxious to add his bat to the middle of the lineup, and moving Ramirez was an original off-season priority for the Red Sox, who in the midst of the annual winter meetings last month suddenly did an about face.

Lowell and Tavarez could have short-term interest to the Rockies, but only if the Red Sox included top-line pitching prospects in the deal, as well.

The Rockies could play Lowell at third base, moving Garrett Atkins back to first base, his original position in pro ball, with the anticipation that within the next year highly-touted Ian Stewart would be ready to come to the big leagues. That would keep them from having to try and move Stewart to the outfield this spring. Also, Joe Koshansky, who has led the organization in home runs the last two years, is expected to play first base at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, and could enter the picture if Helton were dealt.

Tavarez would provide a veteran arm for middle relief. He was 11-5 with a 4.42 ERA for the Rockies in 2000 when he bounced between the bullpen and rotation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 27, 2007 11:22 PM

It would really balance out the lineup. He could bat anywhere from 3rd to 7th really. Thanks a lot for sticking that Jim Messina song in my head too.

Posted by: Bartman at January 28, 2007 9:18 AM

David Allan Coe

Posted by: oj at January 28, 2007 9:21 AM

Dave Loggins

...had Jim Messina and Kenny Loggins in my head for some reason. Never heard Coe's version.l

Posted by: Bartman at January 28, 2007 10:42 AM

I'm pretty sure Coe wrote it.

Posted by: oj at January 28, 2007 10:49 AM

Isn't Denver mentioned in that song, too?

Posted by: ratbert at January 28, 2007 12:15 PM

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Posted by: oj at January 28, 2007 12:21 PM