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Red Sox, Rockies discussing Helton trade
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Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com
Posted: 6 hours ago
The Red Sox are in serious discussions with the Rockies about acquiring first baseman Todd Helton, but a trade hinges on how much of Helton's contract the Rockies would be willing to assume, FOXSports.com has learned.
The Rockies would receive right-hander Craig Hansen along with two other prospects, according to a major-league source.
Class AA center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, the Sox's top position prospect, almost certainly is one of the Rockies' targets, but it is likely that a variety of major-and minor-league names are being exchanged.
Todd Helton hit .302 with 15 homers and 81 RBIs in 2006. (John Grieshop/MLB Photos / Getty Images)
The talks began when the Red Sox inquired about Helton at the general managers' meetings in November and have continued periodically since then, another source said.
The discussions also are being reported by the Denver Post.
Helton, 33, possesses a complete no-trade clause and is guaranteed $90.1 million over the next six seasons. He has said he would consider Boston, according to the Post, but his remaining salary is a major obstacle to any deal.
The Red Sox already have spent a combined $209 million this season on right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, shortstop Julio Lugo and right fielder J.D. Drew. However, the revenue that the Sox expect to generate from the addition of Matsuzaka could enable the club to absorb Helton and any luxury-tax penalties it might incur.
Helton, a left-handed hitter, could hit second in the Red Sox's batting order or as low as seventh, with the Sox sticking a right-handed hitter such as Kevin Youkilis or switch-hitter such as Jason Varitek in the sixth spot behind the left-right-left combination of David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Drew.
The Sox currently are set at first with Youkilis, but Helton had a higher on-base/slugging percentage than Youkilis in 2006 even though he was slowed by a serious stomach ailment. Helton also suffers from back trouble, one reason that the Angels balked at trading for him at the winter meetings.
If the Sox acquired Helton, they possibly could move Youkilis to third and trade Mike Lowell, who is entering the last year of his contract. The addition of Helton would not address the team's need for a closer; sending Lowell to a team such as the Padres could bring relief help.
It also is conceivable that Lowell could be included in the Helton deal, enabling the Rockies to move third baseman Garrett Atkins to first. Two sources, however, said that Lowell was not in the trade, leaving the Rockies with the possibility of shifting right fielder Brad Hawpe to first and also using John Mabry at the position.
Helton will account for $16.6 million of the Rockies' projected $55 million payroll next season. Owner Charlie Monfort acknowledged the possibility of trading him last week in an interview with the Post. Helton has said that he is open to the idea.
Ken Rosenthal is a senior baseball writer for FOXSports.com.