Colorado Rockies: Remembering Todd Helton trade talks to Boston Red Sox

DENVER - OCTOBER 06: Todd Helton #17 of the Colorado Rockies smiles as he warms up before Game Three of the National League Divisional Series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field on October 6, 2007 in Denver, Colorado (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
DENVER - OCTOBER 06: Todd Helton #17 of the Colorado Rockies smiles as he warms up before Game Three of the National League Divisional Series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field on October 6, 2007 in Denver, Colorado (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
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Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies
DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 24: Todd Helton #17 of the Colorado Rockies prepares to take the field against the Boston Red Sox at Coors Field on September 24, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

Why the trade had legs

It’s important to mention how bad the Rockies were the first half of the 2000s. After Larry Walker left for St. Louis, it was still “Todd and The Toddlers.” Helton had no support around him. From his first full season in 1998 through 2006, the Rockies were above .500 once (at 82-80 in 2000). Every other year they finished fourth or last in the division with very little hope of improvement. No one would have blamed him for wanting to move on similarly to how Nolan Arenado feels about the current state of the Rockies and team management. But at least Arenado sniffed the playoffs. Helton never got close at this point.

In 2007, Helton had a complete no-trade clause. It was reported though that he told management he’d waive the clause and accept a trade to Boston. This deal had been some time in the making as the talks started after the 2005 season. The talks then resumed a year later after the winter meetings and the sides agreed on the money. The Rockies would pay less than half of his remaining six-year contract of $90 million. If it weren’t for two prospects, Helton may have finished his career in Boston.

Owner Charlie Monfort at the time said the team didn’t want to tie up too much money in one player. This wasn’t the first time the club tried to trade their superstar that offseason as a deal with the Los Angeles Angels never materialized. The Rockies were determined and this Boston trade was all but a done deal. The Rockies were to receive third baseman Mike Lowell who hit .284 in 2006 and Julian Tavarez who was a mostly a middle-reliever who had a 4.47 ERA the same year. Those two players alone would indicate the Rockies would have been in full rebuild mode.

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