"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.