He’s A Helton Of A Lot Better Than What We Have

  • Fact: As of today, the Yanks’ weakest starting positional player plays first base. This is the only position at which the Yanks are worse than most teams. In other words, there is a lot of room for improvement.
  • Fact: There are no first basemen in the Bombers’ farm system projected to be decent major league contributors in the next few years.
  • Fact: Jason Giambi’s contract comes off the books after 2008.
  • Fact: Todd Helton, by any statistical measure, is a much better player than Doug Mientkiewicz. For instance, Helton, during his "poor" season of 2006, was credited with contributing 23 win shares, which tied him with Paul Konerko for seventh best in the majors. Mientkiewicz contributed 9 win shares. He was 27th in that category among first basemen last year.
  • Rumor: Boston papers are reporting that the "Rockies are driving the Todd Helton talks with the Red Sox and that Boston isn’t particularly motivated to make a deal." The Sox seem to have a lot of leverage right now. The Denver Post reports that the Sox have offered Mike Lowell, Julian Tavarez and to pay approximately $50 million of the remaining $90 million left on Helton’s contract. In the process the Sox would be unloading Lowell’s relatively pricey contract (set to expire after the season) and would pay Helton about $10 million/year for the next five seasons. My opinion is that, given the current market, that would be a decent contract for Helton. At the very least, I don’t think it would hamstring the Sox.
  • Epiphany: I’m finding the bullet format a bit annoying at this point.

In the final days leading up to the Randy Johnson trade, there were
reports that the Padres were making a late push for the hurler. The
Diamondbacks got the Big Unit, but did San Diego’s offers force Arizona
to give up more than they wanted to? Maybe. I don’t know. Based on a
sketchy understanding of economics, I assume so.  I think, at the very
least, the Yanks should make a show of interest in Helton, if only to
drive up Colorado’s asking price. The current proposal is very good for
the Sox, which means it’s bad for the Yanks. Paul’s excellent recent
projections show the Yanks and Sox to be very close. This deal could
very well put Boston over the top. And at what cost?

This all could be a moot point since Helton has a no-trade clause,
and might have already vetoed going to New York. Of course, that
doesn’t make any sense since there’s never been a person in the history
of thinking that would okay a move to Boston and at the same time
refuse to go to the Big Apple. But it happens…I guess. And if so,
then Cashman is off the hook. If not, I think it makes sense for the
Bombers to put their hat in the ring, and not just because it will
affect Boston’s negotiations. Helton is in decline, but he’s such an
improvement over what the Yanks currently have that he’ll make a huge
difference for them in 2007. Fans counting on the Bombers to add
Texeira should factor in how expensive he will be. Again, the Sox’s
current proposed deal has them paying Helton a reasonable price.
Admittedly, he’s on the decline, but who do the Yanks have to address
the issue at first base in the near future. And can they afford to wait
out the market until a more attractive first baseman becomes available?
The iron is hot. Only one team in this rivalry seems to be willing to
strike.

58 comments… add one

  • IMHO, trading for Helton makes more sense for the Yanks than the Sox. Minky probably won’t be too happy.
    Tin-foil hat time: what if Theo secretly believes Helton’s decline is about to go over a cliff and he is trying to fake the Yanks into screwing themselves over?

    froggywomp (SF) January 28, 2007, 12:08 pm
  • First, Helton has okay’ed a deal to Beantown, according to ESPN. Second, I’d say the Padres didn’t do much to alter the outcome of the Johnson deal. The Yanks didn’t even get Micah Owings, who’s pretty widely seen as a better prospect than Ohlendorf, as good as he is, and neither is close to Conor Jackson or the Dbacks other young studs.
    I put this in the last Helton thread as kind of a joke. I don’t think it makes much sense for the Yanks to be getting involved here. First, they’re not going to make too many friends in the long term by jerking around a guy like Helton. They already have a high obp first baseman with potentially declining power and injury issues (Giambi). They’re going to score a ton or runs this year even with Minky in the lineup. I suspect Cash is going to hold onto his chits for awhile, see how the rotation starts to pan out, what injuries have to be addressed, and then start dealing from strength. The Yanks have too much pitching in the upper levels of the system to stand pat. Pavano, unless he really performs brilliantly or there’s an injury, is a certain goner as soon as Philip Hughes is ready to move up. Rasner or Karstens can hold his spot from the outset. The Yanks, I’m sure, are concerned about a backup to Jorge. Finding a decent bat for first, if it becomes necessary, shouldn’t be too tall a task, and it’s probably not worth leveraging so much cash in the future for an older player. Better to wait and grab a Dunn or Teixiera or perhaps pry Nick Johnson from Jim Bowden.

    YF January 28, 2007, 12:31 pm
  • I love the fact that Helton has said he will approve the deal, because if nothing else, it provides a wedge between himself and the fans/front office.
    Imaging Ortiz or Jeter saying that they would approve a trade to somewhere else, essentially saying that they’re okay with leaving?
    I also love the fact that he was so quick to respong to the rumor. This tells me that he either sees a ton of potential to be in this lineup and finally have someone to protect him in the lineup (lest we forget he’s never had any sort of protection as a hitter, and still managed to post numbers like he does), or he has grown so weary of being on that team, he would go anywhere.
    If Colorado eats 40mill of this, the Red Sox absolutely have to give into what they want. It’s essentially a swap plus a couple million if Colorado takes Lowell (even if they spin him later), and it in no way hampers the Red Sox financially.
    Again, bravo Theo, and more importantly, Bravo Red Sox ownership for not just being complacent with one big splash.

    Brad January 28, 2007, 12:48 pm
  • If the Yanks made an offer, I think it would be a good faith one, so no worry about jerking around Helton. At this moment, by far the weakest position on the team is first base. Dougie M is below average and puts the Yanks at relative disadvantage to most teams. He’ll do more to help the Yanks lose games than win games. The advantage of targeting Helton now is that he actually is available, and at a good cost (if we’re to believe the latest trade rumors). I don’t know if Teixeira or Dunn will become available. The Rox are in salary dumping mode with Helton, so you’re not going to lose much in the way of on-field talent. And then you have to decide whether a five year deal worth $10 mil/year is so bad for the Yanks. I don’t think so. I agree with Froggywomp when he/she writes that the Yanks need Helton more than the Sox do. You can wait until first base becomes a problem during the season and then be forced into trading for an upgrade (when every team sees that you need one), and at that point you won’t be dealing from a position of power. The Sox are currently dealing from such a position. Why shouldn’t the Yanks explore the same possibility?
    And as I said, this could all be a moot point if Helton has already vetoed a deal to the Yanks.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • I agree that the Yankees need Helton more than the Sox do. Youkilis is a good hitter. Mientkiewicz sucks.
    I don’t agree that the Yankees’ need justifies going for Helton and his beastly contract. The Yankees are such an absurdly stacked team on offense that they can survive having a no-hit first baseman for one year. Cashman is probably thinking ahead to 2008 when it comes to this position.

    Jeremy January 28, 2007, 2:27 pm
  • If the Sox add Helton and lose Lowell, which is what it looks like will happen, have they pulled ahead of the Yanks? My worry is that the answer is yes.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 2:31 pm
  • …if the rock[heads] are so eager to make a bad trade, the yanks could give them pavano for helton straight up…
    …ok, let me lay it out for everyone:
    …the yanks don’t want helton…they’re not that weak at 1B…they scored a zillion runs last year with andy phillips and assorted others playing first…they wanted a one year answer [mink for defense] so that they can go out and get tex next year…that’s done, put in in the bank…
    …they need a backup to posada…i said that 6 months ago…no surprise they’ve invited about 15 guys, everybody but me and sf, to try out for catcher in spring training…look for them to explore a trade…not saying they’ll pull one off, but they’ll take a hard look at it, especially if jorge struggles…
    …the yankees have been relatively quiet all offseason…i mentioned awhile ago that they may be secretly exploring a big trade involving a pitcher…don’t be surprised if they add a big name [and i don't mean clemens] soon…

    dc January 28, 2007, 3:01 pm
  • There’s a misconception with the idea that a deal in which Helton goes to the Sox indicates that the Sox are continuing to “splurge” with payroll. In the case that the Rockies pick up .40 – .50 on the dollar from Helton’s contract, and receive a player like Clement or Lowell in return, the math shows that this is basically a net wash. It’s in the next few years of the deal where there is a change in the dollar calculation, but one also has to consider that if Helton plays first and stays reasonably healthy, then Kevin Youkilis moves to third on a permanent basis, removing the need for the Sox to dip into the free agent market next year for a high quality third baseman. As I see it, the Sox are trying to make a deal in which they sacrifice at the most one young cost-controlled pitcher, who they probably feel they can either replace from within, over the wire, or through the draft.
    Should this deal go through (and I am not convinced yet), and for the terms thrown out most recently (Lowell + Tavarez + Hansen/Delcarmen), I can’t wait to see the columnists (and bloggers and blog commenters) who get the math incorrectly, and portray this as the Sox going dollar-crazy. I already see it happening in the stories out today. Witness:
    “For financial superpower Boston, however, Helton could be an extraordinary find, even at high cost.” (Buster Olney)
    “It appears the Red Sox’s offseason payroll splurge may not be not done yet, as Colorado sources yesterday told the Daily News that the Rockies are actively engaged in a deal that would send their high-priced first base slugger Todd Helton to Fenway.” (Bill Madden, Daily News)

    SF January 28, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • SF, I completely agree, and that is kind of what I meant when I wrote that at the very least this trade would not likely hamstring the Sox.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 3:14 pm
  • The Yankees NEED Helton? Come on fellas, the Yankees don’t NEED Helton. Would it be nice to HAVE Helton, sure. Is he better offensively then Doug M., Sure. We have established over and over and over how we don’t need an all-star at every position, yet we NEED Helton? His contract is ridiculous and he isn’t going to get better of the remaining 6 seasons of his contract. Sure he is a solid solid player, an all star, but haven’t we learned about signing/trading for older players with ridiculous contracts?
    Secondly, not to contradict the story, but the Yankees have 3 players on the horizon that could contribute at 1B.
    One is Juan Miranda, this guy can hit from what everyone has said. He is from Cuba and apparently very matured in his baseball age.
    Two is Eric Duncan, he won’t play 3B for the Yankees anytime soon, so they have been grooming him for 1B. He may not be the player they tought he would be when the drafted him out of HS, but if healthy he is a major leaguer for sure. Don’t forget they rushed this kid something awful, he has talent.
    Third is Cody Ehlers. He will be in AA this season according to many he would be ready by 2008. His strengths are OB% and defense, he doesn’t project to be a power guy.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 28, 2007, 3:35 pm
  • I think the Yanks need someone like Helton more than the Sox do. I don’t know if that means they need him, but it would be nice and perhaps essential to have a better first baseman than the platoon we’re set to run out there in 2007. Also, what are the chances of any of those 3 minor leaguers actually contributing above average production at the first base position in the majors. I’d say slim to none. The first base issue is one that a team as wealthy as the Yanks can address. It doesn’t make any sense to run out below average players in this starting line-up given the teams resources. As is stands, if this Helton trade happens, what team would be the favorite to win the AL East? My instinct is that it would be the Sox, and then the question is, does the 2nd place team in the AL East stay home again this season during the play-offs? The AL is tough. I wouldn’t want to find out.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • Are the Yanks on Heltons list of teams he would allow a trade to?

    T-DOGG January 28, 2007, 4:01 pm
  • probably not. which makes this all a moot point. But it’s a Sunday and I’m bored.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 4:02 pm
  • I think the Braves, Cards and Sox are on his list of teams and with as fast as Helton responded to the rumors gives us an insight on how desperate he is to come down from that rocky mountain high. If he could throgh in 40mil of his own $$ I think he would.

    T-DOGG January 28, 2007, 4:10 pm
  • This post seems a little bit biased. It leans toward the assumption that the Yankees need Helton… the guy is going into his mid-30′s, clearly out of his prime, and will demand a large amount of $$$/prospects in return. You call that a deal?
    Whether or not the Yankees have someone in their farm system, there will be better options outside the team from Helton in the coming years; much better. The Yanks shouldn’t fall into the trap on bidding for Helton. The best thing that can happen for the Yankees is Helton getting picked up by the Sox, putting them out of the bidding war for better players like Mark Teixiera.
    Did I mention they would own him till 2011 with a buyout of $4+ million for 2012? Assuming he is 33 now, by 2012 he will be around Bernie’s age. He is already on the decline, how much worse will he get by then? Average, at best.

    Russell January 28, 2007, 4:13 pm
  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    dc January 28, 2007, 4:22 pm
  • The Yanks are not players first of all. If the trade happens the money is a wash. that is if Lowell, Julian and a pitching prospect go and Colorado kicks in some major molah ( which it seems they are trying to do). Name me one player that has hit behind Helton that has offered any protection whatsoever. And why do we assume the sox are looking for power and not OBP. OBP at the top and bottom of the order produce those 900-1000 run offences. Plus How great of a year did Tex have could that injury in college be causing his decline? I do’nt see many 1st base man in the near future free agent market that make me lick my chops. Who knows the future. Even though the yanks and sox speak of building for the future with youth the only thing they are worried about is income today. If the sox feel this deal makes them money pull the trigger. Its not like the old days when the sox would be stuck with old players with high salaries and know imagination on how to get out of a bad deal.

    T-DOGG January 28, 2007, 4:33 pm
  • QUOTE
    Fact: There are no first basemen in the Bombers’ farm system projected to be decent major league contributors in the next few years.
    Get your fact straight please
    Duncan, Ehlers, and Miranda. All three project to be major league 1st baseman. In fact, all three project to be major league ready 1st baseman by the end of 2007.

    Dcisbackla January 28, 2007, 4:33 pm
  • I read somewhere that Giambi has club option for 2009. Is it true?

    Asqwwe January 28, 2007, 4:36 pm
  • yes asqwwe…it’s a $22m club option for ’09 with a $5m buyout

    dc January 28, 2007, 4:45 pm
  • Yea, Giambi has a club option, which the Yanks prob won’t pick up… I agree that the Yanks most likely will not make a run for Helton. He is too old to commit another 5-6 years. Look what they did for Damon, that was a steal. They clearly don’t want to tie themselves down, that is Cashman being wise.

    Russell January 28, 2007, 4:48 pm
  • Dcisbackla, do they project to be decent first baseman or replacement level? Seriously, do you think they’re going to approach Helton’s productivity in 2008 or beyond. The Yanks are going to have to bring in a free agent or acquire by trade to improve at first.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 5:01 pm
  • Posting from my sickbed (or a reasonable fascimile thereof):
    ESPNEWS this afternoon had phone interviews with Troy Renck, the Denver Post reporter, and Tony Massarotti. Mazz seemed more pessimistic about the deal. Both said the Rockies would need to kick in half the payroll.
    Renck said Tavarez would make sense, plus Hansen. He also mentioned Ellsbury. (Not sure if this is part of the echo chamber — Rosenthal throws Ellsbury’s name out there because it’s one of the two Sox prospects he actually has heard of, it becomes a big part of the online discussion, so Renck, not wanting to seem out of touch, throws the name out there on TV. I’d guess this is true. If Ellsbury were realistically part of the Rockies’ expectations in this deal, then it would aready be dead.) Renck said Lowell makes “less sense” than Tavarez.
    Massarotti said the Sox would only take on Helton’s contract at $6-7M a year (That’s about $42M total, or just under 50 percent). Both men said the problem will be the Sox’ young arms, which the team has been reluctant (read: unwilling) to part with.
    Renck said he spoke with Helton last night, and that Helton had already approved the Sox as a trade partner. Renck added that Helton wants this deal done quickly, and that he might put a deadline on when he’ll be willing to waive his clause for Boston. To me, that’s a huge boon for the Sox. Like in the Daisuke talks, a need by the Rockies to dump salary and a deadline under which to get the deal done only benefits Boston.
    Nothing I heard made me think this 1.) is some kind of out-there rumor propogated by bored reporters, or 2.) is highly unlikely to happen.
    The Rockies approached the Sox, clearly have some kind of desperate need, are willing to take on large portions of Helton’s salary, and seem to be down to asking for one or two prospects in return.
    The more I hear about it, the more excited I get. One prospect, maybe two, plus Tavarez and maybe Lowell for a .400 on-base guy with decent pop at $7M per? And the prospects are not Ellsbury, Buccholz, or both Hansen AND Delcarmen? Yeah, I’ll take that.

    Paul SF January 28, 2007, 5:03 pm
  • Helton’s contract is for 16.6 million a year through 2010, and then a year at 19.1 million in 2011. (For reference, Clement makes 9.5 million this year. Lowell makes 9 million this year. They are both then free.) That’s a great deal of cash for a player with diminishing power and injury issues, even if the Rocks are defraying a significant portion of it. And to say it’s “basically a net wash” because in year 1 ONLY it’s a wash, and then maybe in the future it alters the team’s fa calculis….that’s pretty dubious accounting. SFs have been harping about Yankee spending for so long that now that the shoe appears to be on the other foot, they just cant get comfortable wearing it. Tie up those laces. It’s the new you.
    Also, appropos of nothing, we note that Helton would be migrating from the greatest hitters park in modern history.

    YF January 28, 2007, 5:10 pm
  • Remembering that these systems projected for Coors, here’s Helton’s 2007:
    Bill James: .322/.433/.543, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 46 2B
    PECOTA: .306/.396/.501, 20 HR, 83 RBI, 34 2B
    ZiPS: .315/.432/.517, 19 HR, 81 RBI, 42 2B
    Marcels: .311/.420/.518, 19 HR, 75 RBI, 38 2B
    Even subtracting five home runs for the non-Coors effect (but don’t forget to add doubles for the Fenway effect), and assuming that batting eye remains constant regardless of ballpark (they all project between 75 and 100+ walks), at $7M a year, you can see why the Red Sox continue to listen. Obviously, injuries and age remain concerns. But, again, for $7M per? In this market, that’s almost negligible, and certainly less of a risk than the Sox are taking on Joel Pineiro ($4M).

    Paul SF January 28, 2007, 5:12 pm
  • I don’t think it would be prudent for the Yankees (or the Sox, for that matter) to not be interested in a guy like Helton (read: not necessarily Helton himself, but the concept of a potentially highly productive first baseman) because Mark Texeira might be available next year. That’s not to say that GMs shouldn’t be thinking a year, two, or three ahead, but Texeira is, at the moment, not available, and there’s no guarantee that he will be available, considering that he plays for Tom Hicks in a hitter’s park in a hitter’s league, and that he doesn’t have a no-trade clause. He well could end up on a team at the deadline that looks to extend him. Or, Texas could try to re-sign him during the season. Unless he’s made it clear that he will not re-sign with the Rangers (and with Hicks as a potential suitor, why would he hurt the bidding process by prematurely eliminating a free-spender?), then teams have to operate in a fashion that represents the real market, one in which he is not included.
    Helton has a value. If he were interested in the Yankees and said he would waive the no-trade clause, I imagine Cashman would be exploring the possibility of acquiring him. I fully expect that the Yankees have made an effort to gauge his interest in New York, and have either found him to be unwilling to move or, if he is interested, are (more quietly) putting their finger in the wind.

    SF January 28, 2007, 5:17 pm
  • YF:
    You might want to read my post more closely before jumping in and trying to pick a fight over my accounting. What I said was that there is a complete wash in year one of the contract, and in following years the Red Sox need to replace a position with a new player. Based on their spending patterns, that player is unlikely to be a major-league minimum level guy. So in years 2-5, the chances are high that the actual situation is Helton + Youkilis vs. “free agent acquisition” + Youkilis. The expectation on my part, which is I think a realistic one, is that Helton at 8-9M + Youkilis will not be that different, salary-wise, from “free agent acquisition” + Youkilis.

    SF January 28, 2007, 5:22 pm
  • also, getting Helton does not preclude the Yanks from getting Tex in the future. Perhaps, it gives them less of an incentive, but Giambi will not be the DH after 2008. You could slot Helton in the DH spot then and fill the 1b spot by signing Texeira. As long as we’re pipe-dreaming.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 5:22 pm
  • Nick-YF:
    Eric Duncan and Juan Miranda both project out to be good offensive players. Cody Ehlers doesn’t have the same power skills, but has a very high OB% capability and exceptional fielding ability. Scouts think he is a 20 HR guy, they compare him to a Kevin Millar type of hitter with a bit more power.
    Now to address your comment ” what are the chances of any of those 3 minor leaguers actually contributing above average production at the first base position in the majors.” Who honestly knows with prospects, it’s a crapshot. But I was letting you know that you were incorrect when you said the Yankees have nobody down on the farm that could help in the near future at 1B.
    I would rather take my chances that one of these 3 pan out then take on a 6 year deal worth 90 million dollars for a guy who is 33. Maybe the old Yankees would jump at that chance, but I am sure Cashman would want ZERO part of that, as I am glad you wouldn’t.
    DC-I agree with you brother, we need a backup for this season. (Let’s hope Jesus Montero can play by 2009, that would make him 19! What a sick thought, but scouts say his has unlimited potential and a HUGE bat) And the TEX things is spot on. If not TEX it could be anyone that they believe is on the upside of their career, not the plateau to downside.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 28, 2007, 6:03 pm
  • than take on a 6 year deal worth 90 million dollars for a guy who is 33
    Trisk:
    I think fans of both the Sox and the Yanks are in 100% agreement on the craziness of something like this. But that’s not what a team might end up with as a deal. The question is what is Helton worth. Is he worth $8M for five years? Or is he worth $11M for the first two years, then much less the last three? The question for Epstein (or any GM interested in Helton) is what the actual payout might be, and whether that’s a reasonable risk for the potential return. If there’s any accuracy to what’s being reported (regarding the potential Sox players involved, and count me in as a skeptic), it doesn’t seem like Epstein is valuing Helton at more than a $7 or $8M player. And I can’t imagine Cashman would have a different assessment.
    There’s no way in hell Helton comes to the Sox (or the Yanks) as a $15M player. No way in hell.

    SF January 28, 2007, 6:13 pm
  • ok, Trisk, I’ll respectfully disagree about whether any of those first base prospects can truly contribute. It’s a crapshoot, we agree, and none of those prospects, as far as I’ve read, project to be much above replacement level…Perhaps, I’ve overstated it as a “fact” but I was feeling a little over confident. It should be filed as opinion, although my opinions are facts because I’m always right:)
    Now, the Sox, if the rumors are true, would only pay $7 mil per year on the remainder of Helton’s contract. That’s a fair, if not great price, for Helton. I agree that the Yanks shouldn’t pay $90 million for Helton. Everybody agrees. All I’m saying is that Helton is on the market (Dunn, Teixeira, et al are not) and he represents a serious opportunity for the Yanks to upgrade at their worst position, and since the Rox are in salary dump mode, it would seem the Yanks wouldn’t have to give up much except a roster spot 4 years down the road for him.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 6:14 pm
  • So when can we compare the Yankees (potentially) bailing out on Helton (despite something of a need at the position, arguably) to the Sox not going after Abreu (despite something of a need at the position, arguably)?
    ;-)

    SF January 28, 2007, 6:17 pm
  • SF, that’s what I’ve been doing this whole time..kind of…and I’m a Yanks fan, although I get the feeling a lot of Yanks fans think I’m more a Sox fan because I think this is a good move for Boston.

    Nick-YF January 28, 2007, 6:19 pm
  • “Helton has a value. If he were interested in the Yankees and said he would waive the no-trade clause, I imagine Cashman would be exploring the possibility of acquiring him. I fully expect that the Yankees have made an effort to gauge his interest in New York, and have either found him to be unwilling to move or, if he is interested, are (more quietly) putting their finger in the wind.”
    No. Read what I said earlier. The Yankees do not want old,expensive players logged to 5-6 years at this moment. They did not do it for Damon, they would not do it for this guy.
    Also, a lot of u guys seem to be saying “For 7-8 million, why wouldn’t u want Helton?” But you fail to acknowledge that for 7-8 million, that means Colorado would be paying half the salary and Boston would also lose prospects. The prospects in the deal play an important factor also.
    Do I think Boston needs an infielder? Yes. Do I think Helton is the answer? No.

    Anonymous January 28, 2007, 6:34 pm
  • Anon, the prospects do play a role — but one prospect, and not even one of the Sox top two or three? Hard to see how hat’s a bad deal for the Sox. As Nick Cafardo said in today’s Globe: I like Hansen, and I hope does well. But I’ll gladly see him go if that’s all we’re losing for Helton at half price.

    Paul SF January 28, 2007, 6:37 pm
  • …the real math is 16.6m for 07-10, then $19.1m for ’11, with a club option [that no one is bound to exercise] for ’12 at $23m with a $4.6m buyout…that works out to be $85.5 [$90.1 with the buyout]…if the rumors about how much of that the rocks are willing to pick up, the sox could be looking at sf’s wash for year 1 [if they unload lowell's $9m, or clement's $9.5]…it’s not unheard of for a team trying to dump salary to actually agree to pay quite a bit of it when it’s said and done…[see arod...of course to pull off the trade, the yankees had to give up something of significant value, and not spare parts, or borderline prospects, so keep that in mind...then again, helton's no arod, or is he?]…
    …sf seems a bit sensitive about the notion that the sox are starting to “splurge” on higher salaried players…it’s not a knock sf, in fact i admire their more prudent approach to player assessment and sticking to their price…but it is good to see them get over the mental block that they can’t spend with the yankees, and actually do it once in awhile…despite the accounting gymnastics you did with explaining the dm deal, the fact is, it’s a lot of dough for one player…and they did it, good for them…rest assured, you’ll never catch the yanks in spending, but your mgmt is spending more freely than in the past, and that’s a good thing for the fans and our rivalry…

    dc January 28, 2007, 6:37 pm
  • I just don’t understand why many people are looking at Helton’s overall contract at the moment and using those dollars as the value of his services for a potential suitor.
    The bottom line is that the biggest risk with Helton would seem to be years 3-4-5 of this contract, and if those years are at a cost of 7/8M per year, then it’s an amount that both the Sox and Yanks have shown that they can withstand, even if things go sour. I am surprised that so many Yankees fans (and also some Sox fans, if you read SoSH) are staunchly against the trade, without thinking about what the right number might be. Helton isn’t that bad, is he? For me, I simply do not feel comfortable being for or against a possible deal, yet: I really don’t know Helton that well as a player, though I am familiar with the reputation (health, production, etc.). I just think that everyone should be honest about the math: Helton’s contract with a new team will not be his current contract, and the effective value of his services, should a deal be completed, is the cost basis on which any deal should be judged.

    SF January 28, 2007, 6:37 pm
  • sf seems a bit sensitive about the notion that the sox are starting to “splurge” on higher salaried players.
    dc: it’s not sensitivity, it’s just a desire for accuracy. The Sox will need to replace Lowell next year, if he stays with the team through this season. So either they will move Youkilis back to third and pay for a classy first basemen, or they’ll keep Youkilis at first and sign a classy third baseman. Or, they’ll make a trade for someone during the season or over the offseason at the cost of talent. My assumption is that whoever comes in will be at a salary level that won’t be insignificant, based on the team’s track record. So in any scenario the Sox will be spending for Youkilis PLUS Lowell’s replacement (or Youk’s replacement at first): they do not have a MLB-ready cornerman for 2008. Those are the circumstances under which a Helton acquisition should be viewed. I don’t know why this makes me sensitive about the dollars; I am only interested in understanding a Helton acquisition in terms of the greater picture.

    SF January 28, 2007, 6:45 pm
  • Great to see someone else arguing the Helton to Yankees point. I can’t believe how uncommon this view is in Yankeeland. I’d love to see Donnie B work with him in slashing doubles all over Yankee Stadium. He’s going to be above average offensively and defensively and he’s absolutely better than anything in their system for the next four years.
    If the Rox are offering out 40-50 million, it’s really a no-brainer to me. Send Vizcaino (and his three million salary) and Duncan with a few other middling prospects.

    Jim Dean January 28, 2007, 6:46 pm
  • “Anon, the prospects do play a role — but one prospect, and not even one of the Sox top two or three? Hard to see how hat’s a bad deal for the Sox. As Nick Cafardo said in today’s Globe: I like Hansen, and I hope does well. But I’ll gladly see him go if that’s all we’re losing for Helton at half price.”
    Oh yea, Craig Hansen for 7 million dollars. That sounds like a good deal. Hansen sucks and if Colorado can’t see that then good for Boston.

    Anonymous January 28, 2007, 6:46 pm
  • …i agree with you sf, i think he would be a good pickup for the sox, especially if the rumors are true about his cost, in terms of players, and the sox share of his salary, say at $7-8m…the guy’s very good defensively, and he’s still a good hitter [lifetime well over 300 i think]…my only concern for it is that his overall stats have declined, and particularly his power numbers…5 or 6 years is a long time, even at $8m per…

    dc January 28, 2007, 6:47 pm
  • And Craig Hansen along is not worth 7 million, even at full potential.

    Anonymous January 28, 2007, 6:48 pm
  • Read this article called “The Coors Field Effect”
    http://blog.sciencenews.org/mathtrek/2006/05/the_coors_field_effect.html
    I will summarize it quoting a few things…
    “The team’s home field in Denver is at a significantly higher elevation (5,277 feet) than any other major league ballpark in the United States. The thinking is that, in the “thin air” at such an elevation, a ball carries farther, so it’s easier for players to hit a home run. Moreover, outfielders have to play deeper, so the chances of hitting a single into the shallow outfield are higher.”
    “Other data support this trend. In 1995, the Rockies became only the second team in major league history to have four players hit 30 or more home runs in a season. In just a decade, the team has had four players combine to win six national league batting titles.” Wonder Why?
    “Overall, Penn estimated that, because of elevation, a baseball travels about 10 percent farther at Coors Field than it does elsewhere.”
    NL + CLEAR hitters park = production

    Russell January 28, 2007, 7:20 pm
  • We all know that’s true, Russell, but that ignores Helton’s historically good road numbers (unlike guys like Castilla and Bichette), as well as the introduction of the humidor in Coors last season. Also, at $7-10M per season, the Sox would not be expecting Helton to put up 2000-04-type numbers. Merely Mike Lowell (’06 version)/Kevin Youkilis-type numbers with Gold Glove-caliber defense at first at a lower cost than it would take to sign a replacement for Lowell after next season. Considering, there’s no guarantee for ’07 that Lowell comes close to putting up the excellent first half that carried his 2006 season, it seems the Sox are doing the right thing by letting the Rockies talk and seeing if they can essentially get Helton for half the cost and maybe one or two relatively unimportant prospects.

    Paul SF January 28, 2007, 7:58 pm
  • Helton would, barring injury, be a tremendous offensive addition to either the Yankees or Sox. The only drawback to Helton is the long term contract but he’s not that old to start with and his hitting skills have only deteriorated in the power category…that and the fact the Holldiay is the only thing approaching “protection” since Larry Walker left.

    walein January 28, 2007, 8:08 pm
  • The humidor would explain his recent fallback in power numbers and BA.

    Russell January 28, 2007, 8:14 pm
  • As would the bad back and the intestinal flu.
    God I am glad I am not a GM.

    SF January 28, 2007, 8:16 pm
  • There is no doubt that Helton is an upgrade over Lowell and Youk but don’t you agree the long-term contract prevents them from even being in bidding wars (with the Yankees) for a better first-baseman. I understand the immediate effect. If the package is amazing, of course it is worth it to give it the go but it certainly doesn’t look good that he is aging the Red Sox, which is one thing that ended up screwing the Yanks in the end.

    Russell January 28, 2007, 8:21 pm
  • You’re right SF, the bad back too. Wasn’t a Big problem with the Red Sox last season their injuries? Lester is getting over cancer, Wakefields rib injury, Schilling is falling apart at the socks, Varitek went out with a knee injury, Ramirez is also complaining about his knees, Ortiz is greatly overweight, and Drew has an opt-out clause in his contract with a number of concerns. Out of all seriousness, I bet they keep wheel chairs in the green monster. Maybe Manny took a leak on one. =)

    Russell January 28, 2007, 8:27 pm
  • Just imagine how many gopher balls The Orc would serve up in that Denver stadium.

    Hudson January 28, 2007, 8:48 pm
  • Helton to Sox=Great
    Helton to Yankees=Bad
    I am done with this discussion. It’s nonsensical, it will never happen.
    An as an FYI Miranda and Duncan will be better then replacement level. I would be willing to put a wager on that one.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 28, 2007, 8:52 pm
  • The stigma about coors being the #1 hitters park is also false.
    Great American Ballpark (Cincy)
    Wrigley Field
    U.S. Cellular
    All 3 are better hitters parks then Coors. All 3 give up more HR’s to righties and lefties.
    Helton can hit ANYWHERE.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 28, 2007, 8:57 pm
  • I’ve thought about this a bit, and I think the Sox should just sit tight. Why rush into this deal? If Helton gets moved somewhere else, then so be it. Why not let the Rockies figure out that Helton and his $90M are theirs for good, and see how MDC, Hansen, et. al fare during the spring. Let the Rockies stew. If Helton is healthy, then they’ll still be incentivized to move him down the road, since they don’t want to pay him. If he’s not particularly healthy, then he’s not worth moving anyone for. I say don’t do a deal right now. Unless it’s insanely cheap, at a cost which removes most of the risk. In that case, sure, go ahead, take a flier.
    I know this is probably simplistic, but I don’t see any urgent reason to make a trade for Helton, considering the shape of the bullpen. I’d rather the Sox work that out first. Their lineup is not an issue.

    SF January 28, 2007, 9:46 pm
  • You’re absolutely right, SF. The Sox are fine without Helton.
    The thing is, of course, the Rockies are not fine with Helton (he’s swallowing a large portion of their payroll they need to be devoting to younger, better players). That’s why I think the Sox will make all the moves of sitting tight, and the Rocks — assuming they’re desperate enough — will finally cave for something beneficial to Boston. Helton seems to have intimated, based on what Renck said, that if the Rockies don’t trade him to Boston within a limited period of time, he will reject all future attempts to trade him. That puts additional onus on the Rockies to trade him now.
    So the only people really rushing this are the Rockies. As long as they’re the ones needing to get this done, and as long as they’re the ones laboring under the time constraints, this will turn out well for the Sox. The worst thing Boston could do in this situation is show any kind of interest in really taking Helton on at this point. Let Colorado keep lowering the asking price. If it doesn’t get done, Youk and Lowell with Hansen in the pen by the second half will be just fine with me, as well.

    Paul SF January 28, 2007, 10:05 pm
  • sf, you and i must be on the same wavelength tonight…in an exchange a couple of hours ago i agreed that helton would be a good pickup for the sox, under the right circumstances [i.e. combination of money and players]…i ended that comment by saying that a long term contract for a player with declining stats [and a rumor of back issues], was troubling…given that concern, but still believing he’d be a good pickup if it works out, i’m more inclined to agree with your latest sentiment that perhaps the sox should sit tight with the lineup…i mean it was just a few days ago we all seemed to agree that the sox have a great lineup assuming some guys bounce back from injuries and off years…don’t mess with it…i think the energy needs to be focused on identifying a closer, and backup catcher [like the yanks the sox need to start planning for a new catcher down the road]…

    dc January 28, 2007, 10:26 pm
  • With Youks and Lugo on the left side of the infield we would need a Gold Glove first baseman! From the Sox POV this might be better than a bidding war with the Yanks over Teixiera next year.

    Jim in CT SF January 28, 2007, 11:48 pm
  • Teixiera won the Gold Glove in ’05, is only 26, and is AL proven

    Russell January 29, 2007, 11:06 am
  • Someone said that The Coors Field Effect doesn’t play with Helton because he played good/better away from home. Umm…
    2006 stats:
    Home (Coors Field)
    AB 275
    Runs 57
    Hits 93
    Doubles 21
    HR 8
    RBI 51
    BB 53
    SO 24
    Avg .338
    OBP .445
    SLG .531
    OPS .976
    AwayDifference
    AB 271(-4)
    Runs 37(-20)
    Hits 72(-21)
    Doubles 19 (-2)
    HR 7(-1)
    RBI 30(-21)
    BB 38(-15)
    SO 40(+16)
    Avg .266 (-.072)
    OBP .360 (-.085)
    SLG .421 (-.110)
    OPS .781 (-.195)
    2004-2006 stats:
    Home (Coors Field)
    AB 807
    Runs 184
    Hits 285
    Doubles 70
    HR 42
    RBI 163
    BB 175
    SO 96
    Avg .353
    OBP .469
    SLG .613
    OPS 1.082
    AwayDifference
    AB 795(-12)
    Runs 117(-70)
    Hits 233(-52)
    Doubles 64(-6)
    HR 25(-17)
    RBI 93(-70)
    BB 149(-26)
    SO 120(+24)
    Avg .293(-.060)
    OBP .409(-.060)
    SLG .473(-.140)
    OPS .882(-.200)
    And the Yankees selected Ohlendorf b/c they received high regards from a former mlb catcher who said that he has passion and wants to improve. Baseball is a mental game too you know? To get Vizcaino, Ohlendorf, and 2 other guys and dump $14 million in Johnson’s salary, that’s up there with other great deals.

    Russell January 29, 2007, 11:12 am

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