Colorado is anxious to dump the 33-year-old Helton, who is still owed $90.1 million over the next six years -- $16.6 in 2007-08-09-10, $19.1 in 2011 and either $23 (yoinks!) or a $4.6 buyout in 2012 -- and is willing to pay as much as half of the remaining dough.
Some of the names mentioned: Craig Hansen, Manny Delcarmen, Mike Lowell, Julian Tavarez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Clement. The Red Sox have been perfectly willing to chat, but have not heard any proposal worthy of serious consideration.
Nick Cafardo (who is "utterly fascinated" by Helton), Globe:
Major league sources told me yesterday that the Red Sox aren't jumping through hoops to make this deal ... they won't do anything that stretches their boundaries financially or means giving up prominent young players.Helton can hit, though back problems have caused his production to drop in each of the last four seasons.
According to a Rockies official, they would have to get one or two young players who would make an impact in the near future.
AVG OBP SLG OPS+/NL Rank RC/27OPS+ is park-adjusted.
2003 .358 .458 .630 168 3rd 11.29
2004 .347 .469 .620 159 7th 11.45
2005 .320 .445 .534 144 9th 8.88
2006 .302 .404 .476 119 x 7.04
Helton's 119 OPS+ in 2006 was still higher than any Sock regular not named Ortiz or Ramirez; both his OBP and SLG would have been third best on the team and only Manny would have topped his batting average. According to Baseball Reference, the most comparable player to Helton is Hank Greenberg.
A healthy Helton is certainly worth $9 million per. Reports on SportsCenter this morning mentioned Tavarez, Lowell and prospects for Helton, with Colorado paying almost half of his remaining salary.
The Red Sox hold every single one of the cards here -- especially since Helton has already said he'd agree to come to Boston. I'd do the SportsCenter deal, as long as the prospects are guys like Pauley or Gabbard. Or get tough and say no prospects.
(Also: Why are the Yankees settling for Doug Mientkiewicz and Andy Phillips at first? Does Helton not want to play in New York?)