August 12, 2009
Over at ESPN.com, the great Jerry Crasnick pens a piece about Todd Helton. Crasnick outlines just how important Helton is and has been to the Rockies through the ups and downs of the franchise and the vital role he plays in the clubhouse with the younger Rockies' players.
The article is in total praise of Helton...and rightfully so! Here is a guy, who at soon to be 36-years-old, is third in the National League in batting average (.327) and has led the Rockies back into the playoff race. Sure, he's not what he used to be, but Helton is still a very productive player and worth more to the Rockies now than most baseball people will ever know.
Now, I love Todd Helton as much as any other non-Rockies fan, but I have to take this post in a different direction. Sure, everyone in Colorado loves and adores Todd Helton because, hell, he means the world to the franchise. The man is an icon...face of the franchise...legend...or whatever you want to call it.
But what if, in a hypothetical world where Todd Helton would actually waiver his no trade clause, the Rockies were given the opportunity after the season to trade Helton and get rid of ALL the $35+ million that is owed to him over the next two years?
Keep in mind that the Rockies are a small market club with a meager $60-$70 million payroll. This club can obviously do big things with so much money freed up.
Would the Rockies actually consider moving Helton? Would the allure of shedding so much salary be too much for the Rockies to turn down? Or has Helton's elite status made him completely untradeable because of how much the organization and public adores him?
To me, this would have been a tough call for the Rockies. I doubt they'd be able to pull the trigger on this deal, no matter how much it would help the franchise in the future.