Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Todd Helton Is in High Spirits about Our Efforts to Get Rid of Him
2007-01-31 13:56
by Mark T.R. Donohue

One of the things I've learned, since I started keeping all of my baseball writing in one place with my name on it, is not to take Todd Helton trade rumors too seriously. There have been deals targeting Todd for every franchise in the majors with more money than Colorado, which is nearly all of them, and yet somehow he continues to toil for the Rockies. This week's Helton discussions with the Red Sox might have been the closest call yet, or it might all have been just another weak lead set upon with terrifying fury by the terminally bored Colorado baseball press corps. Or maybe all that kept the Helton era (really the only period in Rockies history even semi-deserving of the term "era") steaming along was Boston's costly overfondness for Manny Delcarmen. I don't know, you don't know.

As we've sort of mumbled between our teeth more than once or twice in the past, a Helton trade would neither be catastrophic nor meaningless for the Rockies in 2007. Todd Helton hasn't really been good enough the past two seasons to make the claim that Colorado can't possibly fill his spot. He also is scheduled to make so much money that no matter what uniform he wears, the Rockies are going to be paying for a lot of it. This kind of reduces the impact any trade can make, but give Dan O'Dowd credit for realizing that. The only way the Rockies "win" a Helton trade is by getting back a prospect or two who completely exceeds expectations, and in negotations with the Angels and with Boston O'Dowd has shown some good sense. The Rockies haven't just dealt Helton for the sake of trading him alone, which is what we're really against. Helton's status as the greatest homegrown player in franchise history shouldn't be the only reason for keeping a player who isn't helping the team. I think he does still help the team, and with a little luck and health 2007 (at least) ought to be considerably better than the last two seasons. If Helton was to be traded, it's not a sure thing that the new combination of players and contracts would be better for the Rockies. If Todd's contract was that bad, there wouldn't be any teams out there with an interest still in acquiring him.

But at least there's this -- Helton is being a good sport about all of this. "I'm happy to be here...I gave them a chance to get out of it if they wanted, and it didn't happen. So it's time to go about business." He loves Colorado! He loves the Rockies! All he wants to do is win here! "It's something we need to change, and right now that's my focus. I'm not thinking about [the potential trade]. That's not something I had control of. That's no distraction. The only thing on my mind is playing first base and winning."

That's actually two things, Todd. But we love you too! Let's change the culture, and stuff!

2007-01-31 15:52:57
1.   Jim Dean
In uyour opinion, what kind of prospect or two would completely exceed expectations?

Would both Sox relievers have done it?

Or would it have required something like Ellsbury?

Is two Grade C's enough (Hansen and Delcarmen) or is a B necessary for Rox fans?

2007-01-31 16:43:14
2.   Ali Nagib
Opening my new John Sickels "Baseball Prospect Book," I see that he has Hansen listed as a B+ prospect and the 28th best pitching prospect in the game. Delcarmen was a B- in last year's book, and 8th in the Boston system in the Baseball America Guide. Whatever those guys are, they aren't C's. (FWIW, Sickels has Ellbury approximately even with Hansen).
2007-01-31 16:52:25
3.   sanchez101
I don't think it's a matter whether a guy is a "B" or a "C" so much as that the guy turns out to be an "A"

O'Dowd should be hope for something along the lines of the Milton Bradley trade (albeit on a larger, much more expensive scale). Trade a guy everyone knows you kinda have to trade, get back a prospect you looks decent but then grossly exceeds expectations.

The thing is, you have to dupe some other smart guy into giving away a valuable asset. That's a lot harder than it seems to most jackass 'analysts.'

2007-01-31 17:56:30
4.   Jim Dean
2 IMHO Sickels is sometimes good but in this case these two relief pitchers are very lucky if they're setup men in three years time.

Ellsbury is a legit CF prospect (#1 in Baseball America's 2007 Sox top ten - Hansen is #8).

I want Helton on the Yanks. What do they have to give up?

Would Pavano, Eric Duncan, Ian Kennedy, and/or JB Cox do the trick?

2007-02-01 10:08:14
5.   Sushirabbit
Really, that's not always true. And though it is tempting to just assume GMs (especially if they run your team) are stupid, there can be other justifiable reasons for trying to trade away farm talent. You have 5 above average pitchers, you might want to parlay that into a power-hitter that fills an infeild or outfield weakness. Or any number of other things like your scouting group loves the guy but your managers seems to be having a hard time getting through his skull (Bradley, perhaps?).

I just don't buy that every trade is about trying to "dupe" some other organization.

2007-02-01 16:03:43
6.   Samthefan
You don't think Brett Saberhagen deserves an Era?!

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