Todd Helton‘s disappointing 2012 season has reached its end. Today the Rockies announced that the Toddfather will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum, among other problems, in his troublesome hip.
For any team in Major League Baseball, there is always a balancing act between the “right now” and the “big picture.” Because the right now is a steaming, stinking mess for the Rockies, they have no choice but to make decisions with the long term big picture in mind. That will be true of their roster moves between now and September, and it is true of this decision with Helton. Rather than have him play through pain on a team that is 30 (you read that right…thirty) games below .500, the team will have their hopefully-future-Hall-of-Famer try to get back to full health for the 2013 season.
This decision forces the Rockies to take the remaining games this season as a sample of what life looks like after Helton. The somewhat streaky Tyler Colvin will surely get some looks at 1B, as will Michael Cuddyer once he returns from the DL. Recently recalled Matt McBride will also have a chance to show that he is more than a throw-in from the infamous Ubaldo Jimenez trade last season. The ideal solution would be to have Jim Tracy play his best outfield of Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, and Colvin with the worn down Cuddyer at 1B.
Things, of course, will not be that simple. With Jordan Pacheco on the roster as an option at 1B and catcher Wilin Rosario as a perfect fit at 3B, manager Jim Tracy will surely employ a true plethora of combinations to fill Helton’s shoes.
The more important story here is Helton’s health. That man truly means a lot, more than any other player, to the fans in Colorado. It is brutal for everybody involved when he struggles. On the one hand, we want him to never retire. On the other hand, we never want to see him bat .230 and struggle the way he has. Here is hoping that this decision means we will see a more productive Helton enjoy at least a couple more good seasons before he hangs his spikes up.