Todd Helton Rumors
More links as Colby Rasmus and Pablo Sandoval turn 23...
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle reports that attendance has dropped 12% at Astros games this year and could fall further. Team owner Drayton McLane won't say how much he'll spend on payroll next year.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says there's room for Russell Branyan on next year's Mariners team. Could $10MM over two years work for both sides?
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick says Todd Helton has a chance at a Hall of Fame plaque, whether or not the first baseman is comfortable discussing his chances at immortality.
- The Orioles agreed to sign fifth rounder Ashur Tolliver for $200k, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America. They also agreed to terms with Randy Henry for $365k and Ryan Berry for $418k. All three bonuses are higher than recommended.
Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Braves gave off the impression that Tom Glavine was merely a "famous, low-priced insurance policy" when they released him two days ago. He has more on the Braves and the rest of the majors; let's take a look:
- John Smoltz told Heyman that he once turned down $53MM from the Yankees to sign with the Braves for $30MM.
- The Braves are now unable to add payroll.
- That could make it tough for them to reacquire Mark DeRosa, who's on the block and would be a nice piece for Atlanta.
- One executive said Justin Upton has "a lot of Ken Griffey Jr. in him." Check out Tim's Q&A with Upton to see how the former number one pick handles the hype.
- Miguel Tejada's name has surfaced in trade talks, but most contenders see him as a third baseman and some don't like his bat anymore.
- The Rockies are willing to discuss dealing "nearly every player" they have. Heyman says "they'd probably love to find someone" to take on Todd Helton's contract. He's owed about $50MM still, so I'd think the chances are slim.
Another column from Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports? Sure, why not.
- The Rockies, 12 games out in the NL West, "appear headed for a selloff." Garrett Atkins isn't popular (although deep in today's chat, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggested there could be a match with the Cardinals), and Todd Helton is too pricey. But Brad Hawpe, who has $12MM coming to him from now through 2010, could be an appealing trade chip. Hawpe has a 2011 club option for $10MM, but he can void it if traded. Rosenthal likes the Rays; the Braves would also be a nice fit for Hawpe in my opinion.
- Rosenthal believes it would be hard for the Giants to find a young slugger who would be equal value for Matt Cain, who can be controlled cheaply through 2011. We learned earlier this week that Cain is not being dangled.
- The Pirates have no financial need to dump veteran contracts, an idea we've read in the past. They're getting calls on Jack Wilson, but teams are reluctant to take on all the $5.8MM he still has coming. They have the same problem for Adam LaRoche. And Rosenthal says the Bucs are "philosophically opposed to the idea of a low-revenue team sending money to a high-revenue team to secure better prospects in a trade, the way the Indians did last season when they moved third baseman Casey Blake to the Dodgers."
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of rumors in his latest article:
- Apparently the Giants were willing to offer Manny Ramirez a four year deal in the form of a one year deal with three option years. No more details are known, except that the Giants remain interested in Manny.
- Brad Ausmus has had ongoing talks with the Padres and Dodgers, according to Cafardo's sources. The Red Sox aren't interested.
- The Angels, Giants and Mets are possible suitors for Xavier Nady.
- Cafardo's heard other clubs talking about the Red Sox and Rockies restarting the Todd Helton for Mike Lowell trade talk, but hasn't heard anything similar from the Red Sox.
- At least one of Cafardo's sources thinks Prince Fielder would make a lot of sense in Boston. Clay Buchholz could be a starting point if these talks were to start.
- Ben Sheets is becoming a bargain, so the Braves or Rangers could jump in and sign him affordably.
- Cafardo calls Atlanta an "emerging" destination for Adam Dunn.
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!