Sports Outside the Beltway

Todd Helton tries to force a Red Sox trade

Who pays attention to baseball on Superbowl Sunday? Guys whose team lost to Peyton friggin’ Manning last week, that’s who.

Todd Helton is trying to force a trade to the Red Sox:

Todd Helton has told the Rockies he is prepared to veto all future trades for the next five years. O’Dowd said he was “never overly optimistic that the Red Sox deal was going to get done” because neither side could find a match on a young prospect.

The crossroads with the Rockies and Helton could come at this time next year, when Triple-A corner fielders Joe Koshansky and Ian Stewart should be ready for big-league jobs.

Helton’s trying to play hardball here; the Rockies have to move his money and everyone knows it. They’re either gonna have to call his bluff, or call the Sox back and eat mid-level prospect. If I were them, I would guess that he’s bluffing. Helton clearly wants to play for a winning team. I doubt he’d shoot himself in the foot for the next five years just to make a point.

If they rekindle talks to with the Red Sox, assume that it starts with the players previously on the table: Mike Lowell and Julian Tavarez. In lieu of Manny Delcarmen, around whom talks broke down last week, the Sox could throw in a lesser arm – hello, Justin Masterson – or take on more of his salary than the half (~$45 mil) they were hoping to get away with.

As a Red Sox fan, of course I’m in favor of getting a player like Todd Helton without giving up top prospects. Much though I love Mike Lowell, Helton’s obviously an upgrade; we can live without Tavarez, although we will miss his startling late-season spot starts; and it’s not my money. Helton had a terrible last year, at least by his standards, but the word is pretty consistent that he’s back to full health now.

Here’s hoping. And go Bears. (Yeah, I know, fat chance.)

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