Todd Helton Rumors
Todd Helton says he won't play for anyone but the Rockies, reports MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom. It sounds like Helton is considering retirement: "I have other interests in my life besides baseball, even though I enjoy everything about it," he says. "... I do have other things in my life -- kids, family -- and a lot of things that the game has given me the chance to enjoy." Helton is in his 17th season playing for only the Rockies, and Bloom points out that Helton holds records in homers, doubles, hits, RBIs and runs scored for the young franchise. He is set to become a free agent after the season. Here are more notes from the two West divisions.
- The Rangers are "growing confident" that they'll be able to trade outfielder Julio Borbon, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports. The Rangers designated Borbon for assignment on Tuesday. Sullivan says that the Rangers aren't expecting much in return, which makes sense -- Borbon is 27 and has yet to establish himself in the majors. Texas might receive a reliever in return for Borbon, Sullivan suggests.
- For reliever Dane De La Rosa, pitching for the Angels is "a bit of a childhood dream," writes MLB.com's William Boor. De La Rosa grew up in Southern California, but spent the last three years with the Rays organization, mostly pitching thousands of miles to the east in Triple-A Durham and Double-A Montgomery before making his big-league debut in 2011. The Rays traded De La Rosa to the Angels for Steve Geltz in late March. "It's just cool being able to play on the West Coast, actually showing my family and friends that I do play baseball," says De La Rosa. "I don't think they believed me for the past few years, just because I've been so far away. It's just nice to be around family and I've had a lot of friends come out."
On this date in 1896, the National League forbids players from deliberately soiling baseballs (and thus enabling the legend of future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry)‚ declares "a ball cutting the corners of the home plate‚ and being the requisite height‚ must be called a strike" and empowers umpires to eject players. Here's the latest news and notes from this century's National League:
- The Cubs don't anticipate the Yankees inquiring about Alfonso Soriano in the wake of Curtis Granderson's broken right forearm, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote such a deal could make sense for the Yankees.
- Nate Schierholtz explained to reporters, including the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman, why he signed with the Cubs when he reportedly had offers from contending teams like the Yankees. "There were a lot of factors that played into it," the outfielder said. "I think this team is young and we have a very good chance to win quick. I really believe in this team."
- Right-hander Julio Teheran would have to struggle mightily to lose the fifth spot in the Braves' starting rotation, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith charted recently, the Braves could maintain team control over Teheran through 2019 by waiting until late-June to recall him. The Braves could also prevent Teheran from earning Super Two status by keeping him in the minors until mid-August.
- The Phillies have ten outfielders in camp and manager Charlie Manuel says a roster decision on at least four of them will need to be made about two-thirds of the way through Spring Training, reports David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Todd Helton told Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown he understands his career is coming to an end. "I realize I'm never going to be sitting here in this moment again," the 39-year-old Rockie said. "There are many factors in this. My family. What it's like to be away from home. I love everything about this, but the travel."
The Rangers have financial flexibility following a relatively quiet offseason, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). However, they aren’t desperate for a starting pitcher at this stage. Here are the latest links from around MLB...
- Daniel Nava represented himself for the early part of his MLB career, but he has now hired an agent, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. Joe Sambito of SFX now represents Nava, who posted a .243/.352/.390 batting line in 317 plate appearances for the Red Sox in 2012. Check out MLBTR’s Agency Database for more information on player representatives.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post would be “really surprised” if Todd Helton plays again in 2014 (Twitter link). It’d be complicated for the Rockies to bring Helton back in anything but a part-time Jason Giambi-like role. Helton will earn $5MM in 2013 before hitting free agency.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wonders if the Nationals could pursue Robinson Cano as a free agent next offseason (Twitter link). Cano will appeal to many teams if he reaches free agency, though there’s no guarantee that’ll happen. The Yankees appear to be prepared to discuss a significant long-term contract with their longtime second baseman.
- Olney suggested in his most recent blog entry that the Cubs and Dodgers could also bid for Cano. The Yankees' baseball operations department could be prepared to commit $189MM or so over seven years for Cano in Olney's view.
The Phillies have been a playoff contender for the better part of the past half decade, but time and a decline in talent may mean the window of opportunity is quickly closing at Citizens Bank Park, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. "A lot of it will depend on how people perform, on how the young players perform," Amaro said. "At some point we're going to be filtering some young players onto this club and we need to find out who needs to be those guys to keep us going, to keep us afloat." Here's the latest news from around the National League.
- Scott Boras believes the market is heating up for his unsigned clients like Kyle Lohse and Jose Valverde thanks to the start of Spring Training, says Adam Berry of MLB.com. "Like most free agents with that kind of ability, I think you get all kinds of calls. Frankly the calls increase during Spring Training rather than decrease because the need level of each club is more evident," Boras said. "These are ownership decisions at this point. The talent is there.
- Walt Weiss must put his stamp on every aspect of his squad as he enters the 2013 season as the Rockies first-year manager, writes Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post. Renck points to Todd Helton as the starting point with his declining skills, inability to play a full season and the lingering DUI arrest that must be addressed by the veteran first baseman in front of the team.
- John Mozeliak's contract extension from the Cardinals stems from his linear integration model that has paid dividends in the form of victories at the Major League level, says Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think he’s got a real sense of how to make a decision and a recommendation and not panicking into doing something that is good for the moment,” Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said.
The big news out of the NL West today is Justin Upton's rejection of a trade that would have sent him to the Mariners in exchange for four of Seattle's top young players. The deal would've been a big risk for both sides, though since the Diamondbacks have other outfield options to potentially replace Upton, the bulk of the risk would've fallen on Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. As a source opines to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link), Upton may have "saved Jack Z's job" by rejecting the trade and keeping so much top-flight young talent in Seattle.
Here are some more items from around the NL West...
- The "strained relationship" between Upton and the Diamondbacks makes it seem that Upton will be playing elsewhere by Spring Training, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
- In a chat with fans at MLB.com that took place before the latest Upton news broke, Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall discussed all of the speculation about the outfielder. "All of the media speculation is unfortunate, but not unusual," Hall noted, saying that other teams had been telling the media about their interest in Upton.
- Todd Helton told reporters (including Troy Renck of the Denver Post) that he is recovering well from hip surgery and confirmed he will return for his 17th Major League season. Helton is entering the final year of his contract with the Rockies and said in September that he wanted to play in 2013 if his health permitted.
- Dodgers prospect Zach Lee has no regrets about choosing baseball over college football stardom, he tells MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Lee was the 28th overall pick of the 2010 draft and received a $5.25MM bonus to sign with the Dodgers instead of playing football at LSU.
- The millions earned by Major League stars obscures the fact that most minor leaguers earn very modest paychecks, as MLB.com's Corey Brock explores how several Padres prospects make ends meet during the offseason.
"I think, physically, I will be able to come back," Helton said. "So I plan on coming back, but there are a couple of things still on my mind. I want to know I have a good chance to make it through next year — healthy. That will factor into it."
Helton hit .238/.343/.400 with seven homers in 283 plate appearances this season, reaching new career lows in batting average and on-base percentage. The 39-year-old battled injuries for much of the season and underwent surgery in August for a torn hip labrum, which Helton says is now feeling much better. As per the extension Helton signed before the 2010 season, he will earn $5MM in 2013, his last contracted year with Colorado.
Beyond fitness, Helton notes that the Rockies' future plans will also play a role in his decision. Colorado could be looking to rebuild after a disastrous 2012 season and give younger players a look at first base, though you would think the Rockies would accommodate a franchise icon like Helton in what would probably be his final year. Helton told Saunders that he doesn't expect to be an everyday player next season but he wants to be more than a reserve.
"I will have to have ample days off. I know that. If I come back, I expect to play as much as I can. How much? It's hard to tell," Helton said.
On this day in 1991, the Royals released leftfielder Bo Jackson after he suffered a serious hip injury in the NFL playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals. That was Jackson's final NFL game but the iconic athlete eventually returned to baseball in 1993 with the White Sox and played 75 games for the Angels in '94 before the players strike brought the season to an end. Here's a look at what's happening today..
- Angels outfielder Torii Hunter would "love to stay" with the Halos but understands that at age 37, and with Los Angeles having plenty of money on the books, this season may be his last, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The five-year, $90MM deal that Hunter signed prior to the 2008 season expires after this year.
- Free agent starter Javy Vazquez is not considering coming out of retirement, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Free agent reliever Michael Wuertz will throw for teams on Thursday in Tempe, Arizona, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Twins are expected to be among the clubs in attendance.
- Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was willing to sign with the Cubs and had reason to believe that he might wind up in Chicago, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Ultimately, the Cubs offered six years for $36MM while the Athletics offered that same number for four years. The Cuban star also said that he was seeking either a four-year deal or one that was for eight years or more. Through a translator, Cespedes said that he probably would have wound up in Chicago had the Cubs offered him the same deal before the A's did.
- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton insists that he hasn't thought about retirement, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post. The 38-year-old has two years remaining on his contract.
- More from Renck as he writes that Esmil Rogers is a trade candidate for the club. Rogers, Edgmer Escalona, and Josh Outman are battling for the final spot in the bullpen. Rogers is out of options and could be moved.
- Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully addressed the club's ownership situation prior to yesterday's broadcast and said that he doesn't believe it is having any effect on the players at all, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News.
- Todd Helton told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he plans to play for three more seasons. He's under contract through 2013.
- Josh Hamilton isn't under contract for 2011 yet, but he tells Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com that he's bracing himself for an arbitration hearing with the Rangers. The club could look to extend the reigning MVP instead.
- Starlin Castro and Andrew McCutchen are among the players on Jayson Stark's list of the most underrated players in baseball (link at ESPN.com).
- Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Buster Olney includes Jose Reyes and Nate McLouth on his list of players at a career crossroads.
- Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Peter Gammons of MLB Network that he's looking forward to the coming draft, when the Rays will select ten times before the second round. I previewed the Rays' 2011 draft yesterday.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues that John Danks would be better off not signing an extension at this point.
- The Giants' 2011 payroll will likely be in the $115MM range, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.
Links for Wednesday, before the Giants ask Tim Lincecum to help extend their NL West lead...
- Lawyers from the MLB Players Association and MLB will meet in New York tomorrow to discuss the union's grievance with the Mets. As the AP reports, the sides will discuss the team's decision to place Francisco Rodriguez on the disqualified list.
- Top prospect Mike Moustakas told reporters that he and other Royals minor leaguers welcome the attention they're attracting this year.
- The Angels let scouting director Eddie Bane go, according to John Manuel of Baseball America. Bane was a candidate for the D'Backs GM job earlier in the month.
- Japanese outfielder Hitoshi Tamura has interest in playing major league baseball, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. The 33-year-old has 27 homers this year and represented the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks at the All-Star game.
- Jason Varitek told reporters, including MLB.com's Ian Browne, that he's well aware of the fact that he may only have a handful of games remaining in a Red Sox uniform.
- Through an interpreter, Hideki Matsui told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he'd consider signing with the A's if they expressed interest in him this offseason.
- Todd Helton made it clear to Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he isn't retiring after the season.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic heard that Brandon Webb was throwing just 81 mph in his instructional league outing (Twitter link). Webb told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that he had fun and felt good.
- The D'Backs, who will see Webb and Rodrigo Lopez hit free agency this winter, will look to add starting pitching, but GM Kevin Towers told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that he believes starters may be easier to obtain through trades than major league free agency.
Ozzie Guillen is under contract through 2012, but he would be a good fit in Miami, if you ask Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Marlins want a “passionate and fiery” manager, and Guillen certainly qualifies. Here are the rest of Rosenthal’s rumors:
- So far, the Rangers have not engaged GM Jon Daniels in serious discussions about an extension. To be fair, the team is in the midst of a pennant race and may prefer to discuss an extension later. Daniels has maintained that he wants to stay in Texas, though he can leave because of the team’s recent ownership change.
- The Rockies will “almost certainly” want to complement Todd Helton with a right-handed hitting first baseman this offseason. Troy Renck of the Denver Post agrees (Twitter link).
- Padres hitting coach Randy Ready may be a candidate to manage the Diamondbacks if they hire Kevin Towers as their next GM.