Todd Helton Rumors
Ken Rosenthal over at FOX Sports has up a new Full Count video up:
- The Phillies want Pat Burrell back, and they feel they have a better than 50-50 chance of re-signing him because Burrell has mutual interest. Rosenthal thinks Burrell should command somewhere between $14MM and $17MM per season.
- Rosenthal discusses the Rockies' offseason, throwing out the usual suspects (Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins, and Todd Helton) as possible trade pieces. Rosenthal points out Helton's salary makes him difficult, and also proposes a scenario in which the Rockies trade both Atkins and Holliday, sign Burrell to play left field, and move Ian Stewart to third base full-time.
Let's take a look at the latest from SI.com's Jon Heyman.
- Despite the headline "Nats GM in trouble," Heyman says Jim Bowden has the support of his bosses. They do not blame him for Aaron Crow and are not concerned with his possible connection to the scout skimming scandal.
- Heyman suggests the Rockies could shop first baseman Todd Helton this winter if he demonstrates a healthy back in September. Here's the thing - if Helton was a free agent and you had to give him a three-year deal, what would you pay? $5MM a year maybe? Are the Rockies going to eat $40MM? Helton might have to be swapped for another bad contract.
- Heyman sees Ryan Dempster getting four years and $48MM, and Oliver Perez snagging $60MM over five. Are they worth that?
- People close to Greg Maddux are saying he wants to pitch next year. Heyman also sees John Smoltz and Tom Glavine back in '09.
- "Some are expecting" the Reds to be big players in free agency this year. The Reds figure to be in the market for catching and outfield help. Manny Ramirez would be interesting.
- Heyman wonders if the Mets will be players for Francisco Rodriguez this winter.
Let's kick things off with a link roundup.
- River Ave. Blues wonders about Derek Jeter's future with the Yankees. The Yanks don't have to deal with it until after the 2010 season.
- Reliever Al Reyes is now a free agent. The 38 year-old still has a bit left in the tank.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis lists the draft's best coups.
- Curt Schilling is leaning toward retirement. If he does come back, here is a reminder of the 12 teams he was willing to play for last year aside from the Red Sox: Indians, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Phillies, Braves, Dodgers, Padres, D'Backs, Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers.
- Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says the Rockies need to keep Todd Helton.
- Ken Rosenthal says the Dodgers' failure to block the D'Backs' waiver claim on Adam Dunn was a mistake.
- Sam Mellinger explains that Eric Hosmer was smart to hold out for $6MM.
Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post published a mailbag today with some good rumors.
- The Pirates wanted Franklin Morales, Esmil Rogers, and Chris Nelson for Ian Snell. Can't blame 'em for asking.
- Last winter, the A's asked for Ubaldo Jimenez in a deal for Dan Haren. As good as Haren's been, the Rockies still have to be happy they passed.
- Renck doesn't see the Rox picking up Shawn Chacon - reportedly he has not been working out over the past month.
- Renck reveals that Todd Helton asked the Rockies upon signing his megadeal that money not be deferred. Nonetheless it'd be an intriguing way to free up cash to use on Matt Holliday. Renck feels the Rockies might offer Holliday five years, while he'll seek seven.
25 year-old first baseman Joe Koshansky played for the same University of Virginia team as Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds. Like Reynolds he was drafted in 2004, falling (to the surprise of some) to the sixth round (pick 190).
He's moved steadily through the Rockies system and in 2005 was named Baseball America's Rockies Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .291/.373/.603 with 36 home runs in 453 A ball at bats. He's maintained similar averages at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs, although his power has steadily declined. On top of that, Koshansky plays at the highest elevation of any pro park in the country.
He's also a bit of a stikeout artist -- once every four plate appearances through his minor league career. In this sense he's the antithesis of Todd Helton, the guy currently occupying first for the Rockies. Unless Helton (signed through 2011 for a mountain of money) goes into severe mid-30s decline or is injured Koshansky is officially blocked at first.
Koshansky has said he's open to moving to a corner outfield position, but with Brad Hawpe having signed an extension, and ongoing talks to sign Matt Holliday long term, a switch to the outfield is even less likely than getting past Helton. For the time being he's stuck in Colorado Springs where he's currently leading the team in both HRs and total bases to go along with a .441 OBP.
Time to cast this line out and see who's biting. With Franklin Morales off to a terrible start and Mark Redman being Mark Redman, one would think the Rockies might be on the lookout for a starter come July. Flipping Koshansky could be the ticket. The Rox were able to snag a couple of live arms back in '06 when they traded Ryan Shealy to KC.
Aaron Shinsano writes for East Windup Chronicle.
Troy E. Renck is at it again, with another column updating us on the Rockies' hot stove situation.
- Todd Helton isn't going anywhere, for multiple reasons. His current $16.6MM salary is less frightening due to playoff revenue, and he'd be unlikely to approve a trade since his current team is already a winner.
- As Renck reported earlier this week, the Rox will offer Matt Holliday a four-year, $60MM deal to buy out two years of free agency. Holliday, a Scott Boras client, seems unlikely to accept anything like that.
- Why would the Cubs be willing to overpay for Kaz Matsui with a three-year deal? Surely the Cubs know Matsui has hit .256/.305/.370 away from Coors since joining the Rockies? I don't buy the speed angle - promote Eric Patterson, then. I don't buy the "make Fukudome comfortable angle" - sign a Japanese reliever, then. The Rockies are fine moving on from Matsui and Yorvit Torrealba if their offers are beat.
- Renck says Michael Barrett has drawn interest from six clubs so far, the Rockies one of them perhaps. The Marlins could be another.
- The Phillies won't be going after Brian Fuentes now that they have Brad Lidge, but they weren't pursuing him before Lidge anyway. After the dust settles on Francisco Cordero and Mariano Rivera, the Tigers, Red Sox, Mets, and Yankees are expected to look at Fuentes. The Rockies' demand is aggressive for one year of the closer - a #3 starter and a decent reliever.
- Matt Herges will look for a two-year deal; otherwise he'll accept the Rockies one-year offer.
- Javy Lopez is attempting a comeback!
Friday afternoon rumor tidbits...
- The Indians will probably let Kenny Lofton leave while exercising Joe Borowski's $4MM option. No big surprise there.
- Nor is it a surprise that the Yankees are heavily leaning towards exercising Bobby Abreu's $16MM option.
- From the what might've been department: Red Sox owner John Henry was in favor of signing A.J. Burnett instead of trading for Josh Beckett. One could make a solid argument that the Red Sox would be better off if Henry had gotten his wish. Beckett and Julio Lugo combined for 8.6 wins at $14MM this year while Burnett and Hanley Ramirez combined for 14.8 wins at $12.4MM (according to WARP).
- From that same department - Tom Gage notes that the Tigers once nearly acquired Todd Helton for Tony Clark. There were many Clark rumors from 1999-2001 before the Red Sox claimed him off waivers. I heard Buck and McCarver talking recently about how Helton is not a product of his home park. For the record Helton has hit .368/.474/.668 at home in his career and .304/.409/.515 on the road. He probably belongs in the Hall but it would be a lot tighter if his career OPS was .924 instead of 1.014.
- Nick Cafardo makes his case for the Red Sox to re-sign Curt Schilling.
- A scouting look at Hiroki Kuroda, plus other Japanese pitchers who may come over (hat tip to MetsBlog). Jason Churchill estimates a three-year deal for Kuroda at $9-11MM per.
- How would you like to face a 125 mph fastball?
Rockies beat reporter Troy E. Renck had the scoop on all kinds of Rockie rumors yesterday; I'm just now getting to it. Let's look at some highlights from his column.
- Renck suggests the Rox take a look at Bob Wickman. Meanwhile, the Phillies actually inquired but aren't expected to work out a deal. The Indians will take a pass.
- Renck mentions that the Rockies have "long coveted" catcher Paul Lo Duca. Lo Duca should be there for the signing this winter.
- The Rockies will have around $45MM tied up in Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins, Brad Hawpe, Brian Fuentes, and Aaron Cook for 2008. Even if the team raises its $55MM payroll, someone has to go. By the way, locking up Holliday long-term will cost a king's ransom. He's a Scott Boras client.
- Given the burden of Todd Helton's contract and his no-trade clause, he may be immovable. But a .400 OBP is still valuable any way you slice it, so perhaps the Red Sox or Angels will get re-engaged. Renck believes Atkins and Fuentes are the main trading chips to clear payroll though. The Angels and Twins could still use Atkins while the Phils, Red Sox, and Yankees have inquired on Fuentes in the past. Atkins for a Kevin Slowey or Scott Baker just makes too much sense.
Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post has some quotes from Todd Helton that seem to indicate he'd at least consider approving a deal to the Yankees. Said Helton: "I have never said publicly that I wouldn't go to any team."
That technically puts the Washington Nationals in play. Just kidding. Renck then asked Helton specifically about the Yankees, and he replied: "They'd have to want me first." He makes a good point. But maybe the urge to play for a winner is getting to Helton; it seems like he'd go to New York if they could work something out.
Helton's contract remains among the worst in baseball. I don't know who Michael Moye is, but props to him for negotiating this beast. Helton makes $16.6MM annually through 2010. Then he makes $19.1MM in 2011 and gets a $4.6MM buyout in 2012. Or would Helton require the acquiring team to exercise the $23MM option for 2012 as compensation for allowing the trade?
Back in January, the Rockies wouldn't pitch in more than $36.6MM. At that point, Helton was owed $90.1MM through 2011 (that assumes no concession for waiving the no-trade). Based on the talks with Boston, the Rockies will pay off about 40% of this thing and not require much in the way of young players in return. The Rockies have already paid Helton about $7.07MM this season. So they'd still probably be open to kicking in $33MM toward Helton's remaining contract.
An acquiring team would be looking at $57MM for 4.57 seasons of Helton (if he is traded today). That equates to an annual salary just under $12.5MM. If Helton hit the free agent market after this season as a 34 year-old, could he get a four-year, $50MM deal? I believe he could. I'm starting to think a Helton deal may be reached this summer, as his contract is not ridiculous if the Rockies pay 40% of it.
Mark Healey at Gotham Baseball has long been a solid, underappreciated source of inside information. He's got another Rumor Mill up at his site. My summary follows.
- The Yankees have an eye on big-name 1Bs like Mark Teixeira and Todd Helton. But more realistically, they're looking at Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena. He's got the defense, so even if he regresses to a 20 HR bat it's a nice pickup. Healey's source believes Tyler Clippard is too much but the Rays like Sean Henn. The Yanks have also inquired about the versatile Ty Wigginton.
- The Reds, Rockies, and others have been scouting the Yankees' Double A Trenton affiliate. Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, and Brett Gardner are probably the most desirable players on that roster. Gotham Baseball has previously connected the Yankees to Brian Fuentes and David Weathers. Another reliever the Yankees like is Chad Bradford, though the O's price may be too high.
- Gotham quotes an NL scout who doesn't believe the Mets will acquire a starter by trading Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez, or Fernando Martinez. That scout believes the return of Pedro will supply the needed boost. Personally, I can see Milledge going.
- Some former Mets on the radar: Brady Clark, Jay Payton, and David Weathers.
- Healey says the Mets sent scouts to look at Randy Winn this weekend. They must not be pleased with Moises Alou's progress. As I mentioned earlier, Winn is signed through 2009. He has a full no-trade clause this year. For 2008-09 he can block deals to ten teams.
- The Pirates have some vets to trade, and have contacted the Mets regarding Shawn Chacon and Damaso Marte. Marte is quietly having a fine season with a 1.21 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Marte earns $2.45MM this year, and $2MM in '08 with an odd $6MM club option for 2009. He can also earn incentives based on games finished.