Todd Helton Rumors
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.
Friday Night Links..
- Despite a published report to the contrary, Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever is not headed to the Mets, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon spoke to a few members of the Reds who would like to see Dusty Baker sign an extension with the club.
- Brandon Inge and Johnny Damon are both okay with having been put on waivers, writes Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.
- Reds manager Dusty Baker dismissed questions about him possibly becoming the Dodgers manager if Joe Torre retires, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Mark Kizla of The Denver Post urges Todd Helton to call it quits.
- The Padres don't have much interest in outfielder Cody Ross, tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Pirates will send Luis Heredia to their affiliate in Bradenton not to pitch, but to familiarize himself with the program, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter) passes along a report from Japanese outlet Sponichi that the Yankees sent Damon Oppenheimer and scout Billy Eppler to watch Yu Darvish.
- Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter) wonders aloud if the Brewers might make a deal in order to free a roster spot for the returning Carlos Gomez.
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo says that Bryce Harper won't be playing in any games for their Gulf Coast League affiliate this season, according to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com.
Let's see what Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has for us in his latest installment of Full Count..
- White Sox GM Ken Williams is said to be confident about landing either Prince Fielder or Adam Dunn. Williams continues to talk to the Brewers about Fielder but there doesn't seem to be a match as they seek pitching in return. Meanwhile, the Nats have told everyone that they'll need to be overwhelmed by an offer to move Dunn. If the White Sox strike out on the two big-time left-handed sluggers, they're unlikely to reach for a player such as Russell Branyan or Brad Hawpe. Instead, they'll look to go small and try to improve their bullpen and bench.
- The Padres are now more focused on offense than pitching, but don't expect them to make a big splash. The club expects pitchers such as Jake Westbrook to clear waivers rather easily in August. Ultimately, they're likely to make two or three small acquisitions, bringing in guys that won't cost a lot but will help their squad contend.
- The Rockies are looking for a right-handed hitting first baseman in Todd Helton's absence. Jorge Cantu was a possibility but his price was high to begin with and now the Marlins appear to be back in contention. Ty Wigginton also appears to be out of reach as the O's want a young shortstop in return. Colorado made an inquiry on Jayson Werth but the Phillies are telling teams that they won't deal him unless they get a major league-ready starter.
We've already looked at the largest contracts by service time and position, so let's now dig up the largest contracts ever given out by each of the 30 teams. These are in terms of guaranteed money only, but some could end up being even larger because of incentives and option years.
- Angels: Torii Hunter, five years, $90MM
- Astros: Carlos Lee, six years, $100MM
- Athletics: Eric Chavez, six years, $66MM
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells, seven years, $126MM
- Braves: Chipper Jones, six years, $90MM
- Brewers: Ryan Braun, eight years, $45MM
- Cardinals: Matt Holliday, seven years, $120MM
- Cubs: Alfonso Soriano, eight years, $136MM
- Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson, four years, $53.4MM
- Dodgers: Kevin Brown, seven years, $105MM
- Giants: Barry Zito, seven years, $126MM
- Indians: Travis Hafner, four years, $57MM
- Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, five years, $90MM
- Marlins: Hanley Ramirez, six years, $70MM
- Mets: Johan Santana, six years, $137.5MM
- Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, five years, $45MM
- Orioles: Miguel Tejada, six years, $72MM
- Padres: Jake Peavy, three years, $52MM
- Phillies: Chase Utley, seven years, $85MM
- Pirates: Jason Kendall, six years, $60MM
- Rangers: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $252MM
- Rays: Wilson Alvarez, five years, $35MM
- Reds: Ken Griffey Jr., nine years, $116.5MM
- Red Sox: Manny Ramirez, eight years, $160MM
- Rockies: Todd Helton, nine years, $141.5MM
- Royals: Gil Meche & Mike Sweeney, both five years, $55MM
- Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, eight years, $152.3MM
- Twins: Joe Mauer, eight years, $184MM
- White Sox: Frank Thomas, seven years, $64.4MM
- Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $275MM
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
Links for Monday...
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post has the details of Todd Helton's new contract extension. He can void the deal if two of three general partners sell their controlling interest in the team, and it contains $13.1MM in deferred money at three percent interest.
- The Yankees could look to move Chad Gaudin soon, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter). In another tweet, he mentions that Clay Hensley can opt out of his contract with the Marlins if he's not on the roster by April 1st.
- Jim Bowden shows off his post-trade fist pump in his latest GM's Corner video for FOX Sports. Bowden asked a slew of GMs about their processes for making deals; Frank Wren estimated that less than ten percent of discussions lead to trades.
- In considering Jonathan Papelbon's future, WEEI's Alex Speier demonstrates just how risky large multiyear deals for relievers have been.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says the Blue Jays "will not settle for fringe prospects in return" for relievers Scott Downs and Jason Frasor, and they could use them to continue the rebuilding effort.
- Rosenthal adds that Gary Sheffield is talking to a NL club, though it's not clear which one.
- Meanwhile, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com notes that both Jamey Wright and Austin Kearns have out clauses in their contracts, but a club official said the provisions will not impact the makeup of the team. A source added that there are "no trades on the horizon" for Cleveland.
The Rockies and first baseman Todd Helton signed a two-year extension that covers the 2012-13 seasons. Contract details: it's a two-year, $9.9MM extension paying $4.9MM in '12 and $5MM in '13. Helton will defer $13.1MM beginning next season.
Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports first reported the extension and its terms and Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported that it had been signed. Renck writes that Helton will work for the Rockies once he's done playing, perhaps as a coach. The club wants to keep him in a Rockies uniform for life.
"We view him in the same way as a Cal Ripken, George Brett and Tony Gwynn. He's a Rockie, and a Hall of Famer we believe," said GM Dan O'Dowd.
As part of his mammoth nine-year, $141.5MM deal, Helton was set to earn $16.6MM this year, $19.1MM in '11, and presumably a $4.6MM buyout after that season. The Rockies freed up $8.6MM on their 2011 payroll, as Helton will now earn $10.5MM during that season. The move is reminiscent of the Reds' recent restructuring of Scott Rolen's contract.
Now, instead of concluding his Rockies contract at age 38, Helton will be 40. Helton is on track to perhaps retire a Rockie once his contract is up. Despite his back woes, he really only slipped in 2008.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy doesn't "want to be the organization that pops up every three years or so," according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Renck offers up a look at the needs the Rockies will need to address at this year's Winter Meetings in order to strengthen the club's chances to be perennial contenders:
- General manager Dan O'Dowd will meet with Rafael Betancourt's representation today. We've heard that Betancourt may accept arbitration from the Rockies, but with the Red Sox and Phillies interested in his services, that may change. O'Dowd says he wants things to work out with Betancourt, but they've identified alternatives in the event that they don't.
- Colorado would be interested in bringing LaTroy Hawkins back to Coors Field. Hawkins is coming off a strong year with the Astros in which he posted a 2.13 ERA through 63.1 innings, fanning 45 and walking 17. His FIP checked in at a much more pedestrian 3.97, however.
- The Rockies have requested Justin Duchscherer's medical records and will meet with his agent today.
- They've inquired on free agent Chad Tracy in an attempt to add a left-handed bat off the bench. Even without Tracy, however, they could still find a suitable backup to Todd Helton in their own clubhouse, as Brad Hawpe is open to spelling Helton from time to time.
- O'Dowd will keep the team's struggles against left-handers in mind if teams inquire about names like Brad Hawpe and Jorge De La Rosa.
- O'Dowd says he'll remain open to anything, but the difference between this year and last year is that he's not specifically looking to move some players.