When the Colorado Rockies approached Theo Epstein six weeks ago about a possible deal for Todd Helton, the Red Sox general manager figured he would listen. After all, having Helton would give the Red Sox a drop-dead batting order — lots of runs — to go with a drop-dead starting rotation.
Helton is Epstein’s type of guy, a tough out who wears down pitchers (.430 career on-base percentage) and a tough player. So Epstein listened and listened. He laid down the ground rules to the Rockies: take on two big veteran salaries, pay some of Helton’s contract, and we’ll also give you one or two mid-level prospects.
But when the Rockies asked for more, the deal broke down, and the collapse became official last night. Rockies owner Charles Monfort issued a statement to that effect, saying, “Discussions like these regarding a player of Todd’s talent and character are never easy, and it’s not surprising we were not able to reach an agreement. Todd has been and will continue to be an important part of our franchise.”
Seemingly drained and disappointed at not landing Helton, Epstein gave only a “no comment” in response to the ending of the talks last night.
The Sox are far from a team that needs to be worrying about costs, but Theo seems to take a Belicheckian approach to players,Â he establishes a value (both financially and in terms of prospects) and will not cross that line. Believe me, I would love to see Helton batting in the #2 slot in front of Ortiz, but it is not worth the risk of taking on a 34 year old player for the next 5 years who has had injury concerns and decreased performance for the last 2-3 years and trading 2Â power arms that are under 24 years old. The Sox offense is the least of their concerns, but it was nice to dream about a lineup that would match the one 200 miles south of Boston.
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