UPDATE: The Rockies are the ones being the aggressors in the talks, and the Red Sox aren’t very motivated in this deal, so this will be a deal that the Rockies will have to give more than take. This may end up being an easier pill to swallow now that the Red Sox are the ones with the negotiating leverage.
Ken Rosenthal is saying (so is the Denver Post) that trade discussions have heated up between the Red Sox and Rockies over Todd Helton. Apparently, two prospects plus reliever Craig Hansen would be off to Colorado for Helton, who is owed $90.1 million over the next six years. Already age 33, Helton has been a premier hitter for a long time and boasts a career hitting line of .333/.430/.593. Helton was sidelined with a stomach ailment this past year and suffered a power outage, his final numbers resting at .302/.404/.476 – with a largely negated Coors Field effect.
Buster Olney weighs in:
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.
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).
I can’t sit here and chat about Helton until the sun comes down today unfortunately, so I’ll leave you with some quick thoughts, but I’ll be back Monday with some more in-depth thoughts:
1) Not a fan. $90.1 million over six years? Edit: That’s only if the option is picked up. Otherwise, it’s five years and $90.1 million. That’s more palatable, but it’s still far from convenient. Yeah, he’s got three Gold Gloves. Yeah, he’s a great guy with plate discipline. HE’S THIRTY-THREE AND JUST HAD A SEASON CONSIDERED A FALL-OFF.
2) Where does Mike Lowell or Kevin Youkilis fit into the lineup with Helton? If we acquire Helton, Lowell simply has to go. With Lowell’s contract, easier said than done.
3) Where was all this money when we could have had Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu? One may say that Beckett, Crisp, Drew and Helton is superior to Helton and Abreu, but still. What’s going on with the Red Sox? All of a sudden they’re acting like the Yankees. I don’t like it. Don’t burn your farm system for a 33-year old owed $19.1 million in 2011 (club option 2012).
4) Can’t argue with the lineup that Helton would give us. His .302/.404/.476 line (aided by his ‘full recovery‘ from his stomach ailment) would give us an amazing line.
3) Again. He’s 33. With a six-year contract. Unless the Rockies chip in about half of the total money, I’m not interested.
7) I’m not going to whine over losing Craig Hansen, because middle relievers grow on trees. It’s the other two prospects I want to look at.
8) Rumors that the Red Sox would force the Rockies to take Matt Clement probably are untrue, and I’d much rather have the Rockies eat more of Helton’s contract than deprive us of another pitcher who just so happens to be in his walk year. Other rumors have Lowell heading to the Rockies. This would be perfect.
9) Trades of this size usually don’t happen. And it’s probably a good thing in this case.