Revisiting old Rockies rumors

February 5, 2011 | 11:36 am | 2  

Much about the Texas Rangers possibly trading Michael Young reminds me of the Colorado Rockies-Boston Red Sox rumors involving Todd Helton before the 2007 season.

Like Young, Helton had been the center of a rebuilding effort but his salary started to outweigh his performance. Also like Young, despite no longer being the central figure in the offense — Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe had better seasons than Helton in 2006 just as Josh Hamilton and now Adrian Beltre have become the primary offensive forces in Texas — Helton was a revered a figure in the lineup and clubhouse.

For a brief time during that offseason, a trade of Helton seemed inevitable. The Rockies, looking to shed part of his salary in order to focus on keeping its new nucleus together, seemed to have crossed a previously unthinkable threshold. A trade looked best for all involved, but the team wasn’t going to give its icon away. The Rockies were set to acquire third baseman Mike Lowell and reliever Julian Tavarez and send about $40 million to the Red Sox to cover part of the $90 million remaining on Helton’s contract at the time. But the Rockies also wanted an elite prospect or two included in the deal and after failing to talk the Red Sox into parting with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, turned their attention to a pair of young relievers. The Red Sox didn’t budge on their offer, talks fell apart and a few months later Helton and the Rockies faced the Red Sox in the Word Series.

The pitchers whose potentially bright futures kept Helton a Rockie? Craig Hansen, who spent all of 2010 in the minor leagues, was one. The other, and the one reportedly key to the deal collapsing: Manny Delcarmen.

2 Comments »

  • Rich M | February 5, 2011 | 12:11 pm

    Without Ellsbury in the deal this trade would have ended pretty badly for the Rockies. “Best trades are the ones that you never make?” However the Colorado side of this old trade matches the pain that the Rangers are likely feeling right now.

  • Karl | February 5, 2011 | 9:26 pm

    That’s why I like the train of thought these two potential trades show, there are two sides to the stories and also with millions on the table for contracts owed, it’s not cut and dry. We can write back and forth on the pieces and opinions can change in a minute. As for me, right now i say hold onto Cook for the moment though earlier I can make the argument for letting him be traded due to high salary. With the angle of wanting to hold onto ‘blue chips’ i lay out the argument to trade Rogers and Blackmon for Young while Texas pays half of Young’s salary.

    I once wrote four years ago how it would have been good for the Rockies to move on from Helton and keep Holliday. Now I fully admit that in retroscpect with Cargo’s success I can be admonished for being wrong. But I also know that Helton, while a great clubhouse leader and with a Doug M. glove at first is no longer worth the salary he is paid because of his hitting struggles. Thus the correlation to today’s rumors of Young and the reason the Rangers are trying to move him while not because of his bat, but supposedly because they have no position in the field for him. But, a strong argument can be made that the Rockies wouldn’t have made the playoffs in 2007 without Helton’s intangibles like his ability to show true grit in coming back from injuries and showing youth how to play the game. So he has value to the franchise and he has also helped bridge 1990′s Rox fans to Rocktober fans of today. My point is that the Rockies ownership has shown loyalty and places high value on intangibles and proven loyal and good players. Thus they may be also looking at Young as another to help at 2b and also backup at 3rd as needed.

    He, being Young, has the intangibles like Helton does and if the Rockies are willing to invest in this at the cost of the RedSox/Rockies pieces of today that prevented the 2007 trade from happening i.e. Delcarmen/Rogers and Ellsbury/Blackmon as well as Lopez then I say do the trade and let’s go all in for the year and see where this team can take this town. The Rockies have locked in cost certainty for the next few years and have a chance to take over the sports fans of the town if they are able to win. If they aren’t able to win, payroll will again be cut and fan’s will by fickle and move their money back to the Broncos, the Avs and the Nuggets. So I say at the end of this super weekend, let’s make a big splash and make the trade for Young. A proven winner with intangibles is a better investment than players with upside. Also a lot can be said for a person feeling wanted and the Rockies have long shown interest in Young, so he could really prove his intangibles and value if this trade is completed.

    Great discussion in other threads and if something happens in the next 48 hours or less then I have DanO’s back. If it doesn’t then I am ok with this team as it is now, but I think at the end of Spring Training I would rather have Young and his intangibles at 2b with Herrera backing him up, than I would have Lopez’ as the starter this year with a question mark in my mind.