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braves-in-hunt-for-helton | May | 2007 Articles

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Braves in Hunt for Helton?

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Todd Helton and his mega-contract have been mentioned in numerous trade rumors with the Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, and a host of other teams. The speculation comes since the Rockies, a team that has no chance to contend this year, has the 33-year old Helton under contract until the 2011 season with a $4.6 million buyout for a 2012 option. For the first time though I have seen the Braves mentioned in connection with Helton, who boasts a .334 career batting average and frankly, I was quite surprised. Troy Renck of the Denver Post had the story.
As the Rockies struggle, there's mounting speculation they will revisit trade talks regarding Helton. Tigers fans are clamoring for Helton, who's off to a terrific start. That's not going to happen, but all the pieces are in place for the Rockies to renew talks with the Boston Red Sox at some point. Helton isn't thinking about deals right now, instead worrying about his team getting on track. However, if Colorado doesn't execute a U-turn soon, don't be surprised if the Yankees, Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves - with new ownership - come calling.
To me this seems like a case where the writer doesn't really know what he is talking about. The biggest requirement for a deal would be that the team take on at least most of Helton's contract and with Helton owed $16.6 million from now until 2010 and then $19.1 million for 2011. If the Braves had that kind of money to throw around then Andruw would have been signed long-term by now. Helton, who is hitting .360 this year,†has been a far worse hitter away from Coors Field during his career and let's face it, it didn't work out to well the last time we traded for an aging player with a mega-contract from Colorado. The problem here is that the writer assumes that because we have new ownership, that the payroll will be increased significantly. While Liberty executives have said they would be surprised if the payroll didn't go up, the increase is not expected to be all that large. If a deal were to happen, speculation is that it will be a salary dump much in the mold of the trade that sent Bobby Abreu to New York, with no real impact prospects going the other way. We have much greater needs than at first though, since Scott Thorman has looked very good at the plate and for a mere $16 million cheaper. Sorry Mr. Renck, but I think you can count the Braves out of the Helton talks. If Schuerholz is going to throw around big money for a player, it will be a starter.

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