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Hell to Come?
2007-01-29 06:02
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Todd Helton might not be the offensive beast he once was, but he ain't chopped liver, either. If he lands in Boston, the Sox will have some kind of formidable line-up, no?

Comments (109)
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2007-01-29 06:21:44
1.   rsmith51
I think Helton will be a productive player, at least .900 OPS at home, at least .850 OPS on the road. The real questions are:

How much of the salary is Boston responsible for? What prospects/players do they have to give up to get him?

I have read that the Rox would pay $40M, and they wanted a top prospect and Lowell or Clement.

2007-01-29 06:26:10
2.   williamnyy23
I apologize for re-posting from a previous thread, but I have a feeling no one will even look at the past topic, so...

While I realize that acquiring a 1B has become a great crusade for more than a few Yankee fans, it is worth noting that several contending teams do not currently have what you would consider strong offensive 1B, including Boston, Detroit, Oakland and Anaheim. Clearly, it would nice if the Yankees could find a more potent first base platoon, but it isn't that pressing of a need that the team should consider a long-term investment in a declining player such as Helton.

While I can understand the desire to get the best possible player at every position, regardless of the financial cost, that line of thinking has the potential to be counterproductive. For starters, Yankee fans need to come to the realization that at $200mn or so, the team has reached its limit. Like it or not, the Yankees can not simply keep spending. What Cashman seems to be trying to do is reduce the Yankee payroll, but not so the team can earn more profit. Instead, he is trying to create more flexibility in the payroll so the Yankees can strike on the very best of available players (i.e., Santana, Zambrano, Texiera, Jones, etc.). If the Yankees were to commit to Helton for five years, it would not only reduce payroll flexibility, but also commit the team to Helton for five years. Unless you can honestly say you like Helton enough to want to see him in pinstripes until 2011, then I don't think you can make this deal. Quite frankly, if 1B becomes that much of a problem, I'd rather see the Yankees go out and get Sexson, who is only under contract through 2008.

From the Red Sox perspective, the deal definitely makes sense for 2007. Assuming the per year cost is only $8-9mn/year, they would swap out Lowell for Helton and improve their offensive (although only marginally based on 2006 statistics). Depending on whom else they dump, the Red Sox may also be able to lower their current year payroll. Having said that, think about 2009…entering that season, the Red Sox will be on the hook for $40mn to cover Drew, Lugo and Helton. If that's not an albatross, then I don't know what is.

Finally, if the Red Sox have to give up Hansen and Delcarmen that further mitigates the benefits of the deal. While I don't think much of either pitcher, it was just a season ago that names such as Andruw Jones were being thrown around in deals involving those two. It would seem to me that Helton and his contract would represent a significant drop in relative return.

2007-01-29 06:34:48
3.   ny2ca2dc
The deal I've seen is Helton & ~40 mil (making his salary ~$10mil/yr) for good prospects and lowell and tavarez. Lowell makes like 9mil and tavarez like 3.5mil next year. so this would be a DROP in salary for the Sux, and an increase for the Rox. Why the hell would the Rox want to make a move like that??? Even if they get Hansen *and* MDC, they're still just relievers. Maybe if Ellsburry came over, but even then, this smells fishy. I agree the Yanks want no part of Helton, but should definitely get involved to drive up the price, because if the Sox are able to shed some of their overpriced players (Clement, Lowell, Tavarez) for Helton on the cheap, I'd be pissed! (Though it would be somewhat tempered by thinking of Helton in 2009-2011...)
2007-01-29 06:37:08
4.   williamnyy23
More to the point of the potency of the Red Sox lineup, I don't really think the addition of Helton, Lugo and Drew make for a very scary lineup, especially when you compare it to the 2003 Red Sox edition. That lineup had three stars in Nomar, Manny and Ortiz, two guys who had career years (Nixon and Mueller), not to mention a healthy, "in his prime" Varitek to go along with solid production from Millar and Damon.

In comparison, the 2007 Sox will have two studs in Big Papi and Manny, but for the first time, the latter enters the season with some injury concern. After the big two, there are still lots of question marks: Varitek is coming off a poor/injured season; Youkilis is still only a slightly above average bat; Pedroia is unproven and had a poor intro. last season; Lugo has a career OPS+ of 92; Helton has been in steady decline (insert conspiracy theory here); Crisp still has to prove himself; and Drew is always a huge injury risk.

Clearly, if things fell into place, the Red Sox would have renewed potency in their lineup, but at this point, I don't think it is even close to Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Arod, Giambi, Posada, Matsui, Cano.

2007-01-29 06:39:38
5.   rsmith51
3 The Yanks could always jump in the bidding. At what point is it worth it for the Yanks? I am not sure. Why do the Yanks and Red Sox get blamed for other teams making stupid deals? Are the Rockies still paying for the Hampton deal?
2007-01-29 06:39:44
6.   Zavo
For those arguing the Yanks should try and get Helton, he has a full no trade clause and according this this article, http://tinyurl.com/2tzj75, it doesn't even sound like he would wave it to play in NY.

I don't think the Yankees need to pick up that type of salary anyway, but for those complaing about Cashman not being on the ball, that could be why.

2007-01-29 06:40:53
7.   rsmith51
4 I think they will stay with the Yanks in runs scored only because of the bandbox they play in.
2007-01-29 06:57:52
8.   Jim Dean
6 That is interesting. But your tinyurl doesn't seem to be working. Where were you directing us to?
2007-01-29 06:58:02
9.   williamnyy23
7 Over the past couple of years, Fenway hasn't really played as an offensive park. Even if it does in 2007, however, that means it will also result in the Red Sox pitchers giving up more runs. I think it makes more sense to evaluate each team's lineups independent of park effect. In other words, a home ball park doesn't make a lineup scary, the hitters in it do.
2007-01-29 07:00:46
10.   Shaun P
It might be a salary drop for the Sox in '07, but Lowell is under contract for only 2007, and Tavarez has '07 and an option for '08. Meanwhile, Helton is under contract until 2011 when he'll be 38. Given how his numbers have been in decline, and the length of the deal, here's hoping the Sox make it.

I did think trading Sheffield for Helton was a good idea, depending on the cash Colorado would have thrown in, but even the current state of the Yanks' first base situation doesn't warrant getting Helton now. Not to have him under contract until 2011.

2007-01-29 07:01:09
11.   Zavo
http://tinyurl.com/2tzj75

Sorry, hopefully that works. It suggests Helton would waive his no-trade to Boston, Atlanta and St. Louis.

2007-01-29 07:43:33
12.   wsporter
Has anyone taken a look at Helton's home/away splits. His away splits last year are actually pretty similar to Monkeyitch's overall numbers. I guess if they have to have him okay. But that's a lot of money to tie up even if Col. kicks in $30 million, especially for a Boston team that didn't feel it had the funds to bring Abreu in last summer. After watching Donnie B's skills decline from a bad back I'd pass.

Ben Kabak wrote this up from what appears to be a reasonable perspective over at Off The Façade. For anyone interested it's a decent read and may get a few in off the ledge. If Helton reverts to his animal form then Boston will have one hell of a lineup. If not and his back really is a problem then that's a lot of money either riding pine or sharing the DH spot with Papi.

Maybe when Lucky Luchino takes his people over to China as he says he's about to he can bring an acupuncturist home with him; Helton may appreciate it. :-)

2007-01-29 08:09:26
13.   Aviezer
To be honest, getting Helton only improves them by about one win (see RLYW) and that is this year. Anyone think that Helton is going to get better as he ages? Not only that but the Sox will end up paying him an average of 10M through 2011. If the Sox have to give up Hansen and Delcarmen, so much the better.
2007-01-29 08:11:15
14.   Southern Yankee
With the MLB Extra Innings/DirecTV deal looming I began to look into the pros and cons of switching from Brighthouse (Tampa area) to DirecTV. I find that with DirecTV I can get a Sports Pack that includes eight or nine Fox Sports Network offerings that span the country and cover most of the MLB teams. AND NESN and YES (in HD)!!!! Since I'm primarily interested in the NYY games doesn't this ($12 per mo) beat the hell out of the MLB EI package? Anyone have it ? Any criticisms?
2007-01-29 08:11:33
15.   ny2ca2dc
Kevin Goldstein's list of top 10 Yanks prospects is up on Baseball Prospectus:

Excellent Prospects
1. Philip Hughes, rhp
2. Jose Tabata, rf
Very Good Prospects
3. Joba Chamberlain, rhp
4. Humberto Sanchez, rhp
5. Dellin Betances, rhp
Good Prospects
6. Kevin Whelan, rhp
Average Prospects
7. Tyler Clippard, rhp
8. J. Brent Cox, rhp
9. Ian Kennedy, rhp
10. Alberto Gonzalez, ss

bit surprised to see Gonzalez as the top rated prospect from the Unit trade...

Check (, check, check,) it out

2007-01-29 08:19:29
16.   OldYanksFan
We can NOT discuss ANY 1Bman deal with a long contract, without first examining the 'Teixeira Issue'. If Cashman is targeting Tex, and feels he will get him, then the Helton discussion is moot. We may as well get an overpriced, declining SS too.

Mark Teixeira, 26, is in the last year of his contract, getting paid $7m+/-. He's a switch-hitter, and a good defensive 1Bman, who has not hit his prime yet. Over the last 3 years, he OPS has been .886 (although last year was his worst of 3), but .983 AWAY from Texas.

What's he worth as an FA? Are his numbers better then Sori's? Better then Lee's? My guess is he's a 6/100 guy at minimum, and could be 7/126.

Can Texas afford that? What are the odds that he is available next year... or middle of this year? If he is, can anyone outbid the Yankees? What will Texas want in return (hopefully cheap pitchers)? Would Tex like to be a Yankee? If he signs for 7 years, he might be or greatest 1Bman in history, behind Gehrig.

I compared being a GM to playing chess. You don't simply move one piece, without considering both the positions of the other pieces, and what you want the board to look like in 2 or 3 moves.

If Cashman told us today that he was going after Tex as hard as he could... would that render the 'Helton moot'?

If so, we need to discuss what the odds, scenerios, impediments are to getting Tex.

2007-01-29 08:30:17
17.   yankz
Soriano is a career 132 OPS+ and Tex is 126. So, we can expect the same ridiculous contract.
2007-01-29 08:30:43
18.   yankz
Scratch that, Soriano is 115 (I was looking at his stats from last year). So it'll be even more...
2007-01-29 08:34:02
19.   jkay
14 The sports pack is blacked out for MLB games. All you get is pre and post game coverage. You will still need extra innings.
2007-01-29 08:38:13
20.   jkay
Good news for fans who take the D or B train to the Stadium. The NY Sun says the MTA is finally putting in new subway cars on the IND lines. By May of '08, you will be riding in style.

http://www.nysun.com/article/47583

2007-01-29 09:13:06
21.   OldYanksFan
7 The numbers vary but Fenway is usually HR neutral, and gives BA a little boost. In reality, I think RH batters have an advantage, FB LH batters probably a disadvantage (except guys with good power going 'the other way')

15 I did read somewhere that Humberto Sanchez might have been the BEST SS glove in the minors.

I will ask again. What are the odds that Tex is a Yankee in 2008?

2007-01-29 09:21:12
22.   rsmith51
14 I currently get the Directv package and am pretty happy with it. If you get the sports package and NOT MLB EI, the games will be blacked out. You can get MLB EI without getting the sports package and just watch the games. In addition to the MLB EI package, you can get the sports package which gives you pre-game and post-game shows for an additional $12/mo(or cheaper if you get movie channels). It is pretty nice in the post-season. Several shows on YES are blocked out, but you do get most of their programming. Hasn't really affected me, except one time a game ran late and blacked out the game because the show that was supposed to be on was blacked out. Pretty rare, though.
2007-01-29 09:23:52
23.   rsmith51
21 Amazing that a pitcher, Humberto Sanchez, rates as the top defensive ss in the minors ;-). He will be the next Greg Maddux on the mound.
2007-01-29 09:27:12
24.   OldYanksFan
FWIW - Re: MLB and DirecTV - from Baseball Musings:

If you would like to complain about the DirecTV deal, you can contact MLB via email here: csmedia@website.mlb.com

[from BM] "If you do write them, be nice. Starting out the first sentence with "What are you morons thinking?" probably won't get the rest of your complaint read. Yeah, I know, they are morons but no one likes to be reminded of it."

2007-01-29 09:29:31
25.   OldYanksFan
23 That's right... go on... make fun of the elderly. I meant the OTHER Humberto Sanchez, re: Alberto Gonzalez
2007-01-29 09:33:41
26.   OldYanksFan
By the by: Prospect Profile: Phil Hughes
If you haven't read this, and need some pure joy and tingly toes, please read: http://tinyurl.com/ytlj37
2007-01-29 09:36:05
27.   Jim Dean
ATTENTION. This is a test of the Dean Emergency Ranting System. This is only a test.

12 Here's the thing, in 1990 if you had the choice to acquire Donnie Baseball, at market prices for five years, would you?

Helton has been Donnie Baseball to the Rox, only significantly better numbers even on the road.

So when people say let the Sox get him, I cringe.

This isn't Nancy Drew - a guy every fanbase has been happy to see go.

This isn't Julio Lugo - a guy lucky to be an average hitter and fielder.

This is Todd Helton. And everyone predicting his rapid descent probably said the same thing about:

Thome
Giambi
Thomas
Piazza
Edmonds
etc.

Helton is a baseball player - pure and simple. And I'm sorry if I'm the only one but I would love to have him on my team at the prices being advertised. He may become Donnie B after 1990, but his low (119 in 2006) hasn't been that low (80 OPS+ in 1990), and the guy flat out rakes.

Here's his comps through Age 32:
Chuck Klein (886) *
Jeff Bagwell (885)
Frank Thomas (878)
Joe DiMaggio (864) *
Rafael Palmeiro (841)
Carlos Delgado (841)
Manny Ramirez (840)
Hank Greenberg (836) *
Jason Giambi (832)
Jim Bottomley (831) *

* = HOF

Sure, he could fall off a cliff. But it's more likely than not, in this day and age, that he rediscovers his stroke.

Maybe the Damon signing changed my thinking. The guy came in and just did his job and did it well. Who cares that he's going to be overpaid in the last year or two?

Back to your regularly scheduled episode of the Bronx Branter.

2007-01-29 09:36:07
28.   vockins
20 I have to call BS on the guy they quote in that article.

"The no. 7 line was, for a long time, always first to receive technological upgrades from the MTA, another co-author of "The Subway and the City," John Henderson, said. "The no. 7 ran through high-quality neighborhoods, so a lot of new stuff arrived there first."

Didn't the 7 run redbirds until 2005? That train was always ancient. Nice neighborhoods? Times Square was pretty dumpy until recently, and Queensbridge is in the running for Most Insane Neighborhood In The Five Boroughs.

2007-01-29 09:57:38
29.   unpopster
A few thoughts on the proposed Helton deal:

If the Sawx swap Tavarez, Lowell, and a prospect for Helton, someone please explain to me how this results in an offensive upgrade in 2007?

Helton and Lowell had very similar numbers in 2006, with Lowell hitting 20 HR's to Helton's 15, and batting in 80 to Helton's 81 RBIs. Helton's 2006 AVG, BB, SLG, OBP and OPS numbers were better than Lowell's, but one can not discount the Coors Field affect. Lastly, both are productive hitters who are very obviously in their declining phases.

So, the Sawx will trade an excellent defensive 3B, a middle reliever, and a prospect for an overpriced, declining 1B who may or may not be a marginal-at-best offensive boost? In fact, losing Lowell and gaining Helton is essentially a wash offensively.

As Yankee fans I think we should all hope for such a trade.

2007-01-29 10:04:11
30.   Shaun P
27 Does B-R.com adjust those numbers for league and home park? Also, remember that those comps are for Helton up to now. It doesn't mean Helton will continue to hit like those guys going forward, just that he has hit like them so far.

PECOTA, on the other hand, offers comparables for Helton going forward. FWIW, here are Helton's top comparables via his '07 PECOTA card (Similarity index 54, so pretty similar):

1 Wally Joyner 1996 63
2 Ryan Klesko 2005 60
3 John Olerud 2002 55
4 Will Clark 1998 52
5 Don Mincher 1972 51
6 Norm Cash 1968 49
7 Keith Hernandez 1987 48
8 Dale Long 1959 48
9 Bill White 1967 47
10 David Justice 2000 43

Most of those guys fell off the cliff statistically within two years (or sooner). Joyner, his top comp, from '96 (his age-34 season) to '01 averaged .279/.362/.408. In other words, what Stinky Minky has hit in his career.

I continue to not be worried.

2007-01-29 10:05:37
31.   wsporter
29 SG takes a run at it over at RLYW. It's worth a read. It's under the current post and it's a short read; which means I didn't get confused. Basically he comes to your conclusion I think or maybe I am confused.
2007-01-29 10:17:47
32.   mehmattski
What I question is why Lowell is involved in the rumor. If there are any bright spots on the Rockies, it's in 27 year old Garret Atkins, whose at 3B already. Further, many people think that Ian Stewart (BP's #1 Rockies prospect in 2005) is better at third base with the glove and with the stick. Why would they trade for a 33 year-old 3B?

That said, I feel that the most oft-rumored deal (Lowell and Tavarez for Helton) will improve the Red Sox for 2007, especially since Youk is not a huge step down from Lowell at 3B. I think the prospect of facing Helton/Ortiz/Ramirez/Drew 18 times this season could be daunting. Beyond 2007 it may be less than ideal... but remember the Yankees were one out from a World Series with Jason Giambi (2004: .208/.342/.379) at first base... I don't think Helton will ever be worse than that.

2007-01-29 10:35:07
33.   Jim Dean
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

I will add that people who are talking about a "steep" or "steady" decline are overthinking his year 2006. If you want to lump 2005 into that (144 OPS+) you also have to explain why 2002 was the same (143 OPS+) and why he "returned to form" in 2003-2004.

Further, if you look at his monthly splits for 2006, you can see there was no steady anything - he was great, slumped, then great again (coinciding with the reported flu) then settled into well-above average but not a superstar.

So basically people are concluding the guy's finished because he had a less than stellar second half combined with a bad June.

30 Wally Joyner - I knew Todd Helton, and you sir are no Todd Helton.

Look at when those players put up those seasons in the context of the rest of their careers. It's not the same thing as their whole careers. Individual seasons vary significantly. So I think it's disingenuous to compare Joyner's 1996 year to Clark's 1998.

Regardless, the worry that everyone is expressing (Donnie Baseball circa 1990) is exceedingly rare. There's been no indication that Helton is that injured. Much more common is one down year followed by a resurgence - we've all seen it as players written off then coming back strong. Helton's the type of hitter IMHO where that's the greater possibility. The "steady" or "rapid" decline is a statistical illusion.

The bottomline is you just have to look at 2006, in isolation, and guess about 2007.

Me, I'm guessing one way and because of it I'd much rather see him in pinstripes than in bloody sox.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

2007-01-29 10:35:12
34.   standuptriple
I just don't see this whole rumor as having much legs. It's just a little too inflated and in a lull of baseball news that makes a lot of us easy targets for rumors such as this. In the rare case this does go down I wouldn't be all that worried though, but I would wonder why COL would have any interest in Lowell and Tavares. Can BOS even afford to lose another BP arm? Just too many holes in this scenario for my liking.
2007-01-29 10:38:13
35.   Zack
Dear God, by far the most frightening part of the RLYW was this lead in:
"Yankees manager Joe Torre has told GM Brian Cashman that he'd like to give Bernie Williams a shot at making the team, according to a source close to Williams.
However, the Yankees' 40-man roster is full, and there appears little opportunity for Williams to contribute."

See, Cashman HAS to know better than allow Joe this chance, because we all know that there is no way in hell that he leaves Bernie off the roster. so please Cashman, don't do it!

2007-01-29 10:39:43
36.   Jeteupthemiddle
10 It is more important for the Sox to drop payroll in 2007 right now if only because they are currently straddling the luxury tax threshold. If they can drop their payroll even $4M (and stay that way including trades and bonuses and such) then they would be below the threshold of $144M.

Next season, the threshold increases so they will have some breathing room. Not to mention Clement and Schilling come off the books as well as several other smaller but could easily add up contracts.

Of course, the Sox are committed to quite a few long term contracts...Ortiz, Matsuzaka, Drew, and Lugo are undercontract for 2011 (well Ortiz, and Lugo have options)...they all make substantial money. If the rumors are correct, in 2011, the Sox will have to pay Helton 15.7M The Sox could ALREADY have $58.7M committed to their 2011 lineup which, by that time, would be very, very old.

Not that that should necessarily be a deterrent for the Red Sox. Their AAV (in the rumored deal) for Helton would be less than $10M.

Still though, they are taking lessons from the yankees of the early 00's. Long term contracts are a good way to ensure your team is old and can't move for a season.

2007-01-29 10:46:17
37.   Zack
33 True, you see written off players come back. But far more often you see them, in fact, live down to their written-offness.

And Donnie Baseball 1990 on was hardly worth Todd Helton money outside of New York. Look at it this way, would you give 10 mill to a guy averaging .290, .350, .420 with an ops+ of 100? I love Donnie as much as anyone, but if Helton puts up those #s, then I aint worried...

Ps: RIP Barbaro...

2007-01-29 10:48:42
38.   thelarmis
36 well, now Scurt says he'll definitely pitch in 2008 and is supposedly in talks with Henry about staying in boston. scurt said he'll pitch just about anywhere but NY (thank goodness!). so, he may not be completely off the books. would be nice if boston cross the luxury tax line...

34 yeah, it's far from being a done deal. also seems as though Helton said he'll veto any deal if it's not done by the end of the week...

2007-01-29 11:02:53
39.   OldYanksFan
Hello... Hello... Mark Teixeira anyone?
If Tex signs as a FA next year, it will be for big money and probably for a PS contendor.
That certainly puts NY and Boston in there.
Of course, if Boston buys Helton for 5 years, the Yanks have less competition for Tex. If the Yankees buy Helton for 5 years, then Boston will have less competition for Tex.

Is there anyone here, including the Sausage King, who would prefer a 34 yr old Helton to a 27 yr old Tex?

I guess I'm crazy. I though Tex was as important to a Helton discussion as Helton was.

2007-01-29 11:04:56
40.   thelarmis
i'm down with getting tex in 08
2007-01-29 11:22:33
41.   Jim Dean
39 Their owner dropped $250 million on one player. What makes you think he wouldn't drop half that on another?

Further, if they're not going to sign him, why wouldn't they trade him?

Anything the Yanks would give up for Helton pales in comparison to what they would have to give up for Teixeira - cash (100 vs 50 million) and players (a few good prospects versus one and MLB stiffs).

Sorry, it looks like apples and oranges.

2007-01-29 11:23:48
42.   jayd
Helton would be a great addition for the sawks but PLEASE not to touch my favorite out of the pen Julian Tavarez.

da schill sez he won't play for the yanks in 2008. still pissed he wound up playing for the sawks.

Johan My Johan Watch:
"Talking contracts during the season is typically distracting, so if the two sides can't work something out by the end of spring training, Santana's tenure with the Twins could be in doubt.

If the team really wants to retain him they're probably going to have to do something soon," said Greenberg, who added that it would be unlikely for his client to seek an extension in the final year of his deal with free agency approaching. In that case, Ryan might have to trade him to avoid losing such a valuable pitcher without receiving other players in return."

Yeah, go for Helton; bury yourself in payroll. What the hell, you don't win this year, you're gone anyways, Larry -- this way you can screw it up so bad even your successors won't be able to win until the end of second decade. Thereby allowing you to claim the whole thing was unsalvageable anyways. Makes sense to me. Remember the Padres! Go Sawks!

Helton to the Yanks? Not unless we can get a couple more rhp...

We do not need 12 pitchers. With Johan My Johan, 11 is more than enough; thus freeing Bernie for one last hurrah and a permanent thread on Banter devoted to GOB Fanatics. "I don't care if he had the winning hit or started the rally.. did you see that lob he made? My grandmother can throw better than that..."

And how the hell does Tyler Clippard become an "average prospect". Let Phil Hughes get the print, Tyler is the man. I haven't felt this sure about anything since Colter Bean. I loved him.

You know I was thinking, with Johan My Johan in the starting rotation we could probably get by with 10 pitchers and bring Bubba back. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

2007-01-29 11:26:38
43.   jayd
whoops the 20's are the third decade. my bad.
2007-01-29 11:35:10
44.   Jim Dean
42 I'm with you on Tyler. I love it when the the SABR snobs ignore stats when they conflict with what they see with their eyes. Way to be consistent guys.

Everything (stats, age) about Tyler says he's a solid #2 or #3 prospect. I hope the Yanks continue to believe in him.

2007-01-29 11:57:25
45.   Start Spreading the News
NoMaas.org has a good point today. When the Yanks got Abreu, Theo used fiscal strain as a reason for not going after him.

It looks like that was a bogus excuse.

2007-01-29 11:58:35
46.   Shaun P
33 "Much more common is one down year followed by a resurgence - we've all seen it as players written off then coming back strong. Helton's the type of hitter IMHO where that's the greater possibility. The "steady" or "rapid" decline is a statistical illusion."

OK, I've got to call you on that one, Jim. 25+ years of statistical research concerning baseball has shown that the aging curve for hitters is very much real, and not a statistical illusion. Are there blips, a la Damon in '06? Of course - but I would strongly caution anyone who expects Damon to equal his '06 numbers in '07 to not get their hopes up. But the vast majority of hitters follow the curve, and after 28, the curve goes down. Sometimes more quickly than others, and not always perfectly smooth, but down nonetheless.

In other words, even after discounting Helton's '06 because of the injury, the downward trend is still there. In trying to identify a downward trend, I wouldn't look at OPS+, because it shifts from year to year depending on how the league as a whole hits, and league-wide levels of offense fluctuate from year to year. Instead, I'd look at his pure rate stats. Even looking at his translated rate stats (http://tinyurl.com/2bryof), you can see the downward trend in Helton's numbers.

And - more clear research results here - the most instructive view of what the player is going to do going forward is to look at the past three seasons, not the most recent season.

"Look at when those players put up those seasons in the context of the rest of their careers. It's not the same thing as their whole careers. Individual seasons vary significantly. So I think it's disingenuous to compare Joyner's 1996 year to Clark's 1998."

I think you misunderstood me. PECOTA is saying that Todd Helton's 2007 season is most likely to be similar to Joyner's '96 season, among all the possible comparable seasons for Helton's 2007 PECOTA projection. The 2nd most likely Helton '07 season is similar to Klesko's '05. The fourth most likely Helton '07 season is similar to Clark's '98, and so on. PECOTA is not saying that Joyner's 96 is comparable with Clark's '98 or David Justice in 2000, all of which are drastically different. I hope that clears things up, and sorry for any confusion!

2007-01-29 11:58:35
47.   williamnyy23
Just because acquiring Helton might be good for the Sox, doesn't mean it would also be good for the Yankees.

If you compare the current situations of both teams, two things are apparent: the Yankees have a much stronger lineup and (assuming both teams are on equal financial footing), the Red Sox have more payroll flexibility. For those two reasons alone, Helton makes more sense for Boston than the Yankees.

As much as it would be nice to prevent the Red Sox from adding a useful piece, it wouldn't make sense for the Yankees to commit long-term, give up prospects and get slapped with an additional $4mn in luxury tax. If the Red Sox do acquire Helton, it will most likely improve the offense somewhat this season, while leaving the team with another questionable contract down the road. That is not an outcome that the Yankees should be desperate to prevent.

2007-01-29 12:08:12
48.   markp
SABR snobs? Doesn't Baseball Prospectus use PECOTA? And is PECOTA mocked by almost 100% of the "real" sabermatic community? That post is very revealing.
2007-01-29 12:10:14
49.   Shaun P
42 44 I love Clippard too. I wouldn't put too much into the "average" label. I think that's more a reflection of his upside in MLB - ie, an average starting pitcher - as opposed to the upside of bonafide-ace-best-pitching-prospect-in-baseball Mr. Hughes. In fact, in the full write up, Kevin Goldstein refers to Clippard being, in a perfect world, "a middle of the rotation workhorse". In other words, a #2 or a #3. KG also points out that, of the 26 righties taken ahead of Clippard in the '03 draft, only two would be taken ahead of him now. That sounds like praise to me, not a contradictory statement by a 'SABR snob' (whatever that is).
2007-01-29 12:11:49
50.   Jim Dean
46 I was talking specifically about Helton's 2006. It is a statistical illusion of his steady decline when grouped next to his 2005. His 2005 is the same, relatively speaking, as his 2002. So if someone is trying to say he's in the midst of a "steady" decline they have to explain how 2002, and 2003-04, also fits in.

It doesn't.

Now, that doesn't mean Helton isn't getting older. It just means that 2006 shouldn't be paired with 2005 and 2004 to indicate some downward linear trend.

Sure, he's going to get worse. But the slope is very much up in the air. This year will tell us much.

And I understood what you meant about the PECOTA. I just don't buy it. Any system that says Todd Helton in 2007 is most likely to be Wally Joyner in 1996 fundamentally misunderstands both Wally Joyner and Todd Helton.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-01-29 12:15:48
51.   Jim Dean
49 Fair enough. I just think the statheads would do better to explain real projections and avoid the blackhole known as "potential" or "talent" through which many a Hensons and Van Poeppels have fallen.
2007-01-29 12:36:31
52.   Shaun P
50 Fair enough on your part, too. I happen to think PECOTA is pretty good, and if Helton's power numbers fall off a cliff this year, don't say PECOTA didn't warn you.

FWIW, I don't think Helton will put up "Joyner in 1996" numbers in 2007 either. I'd like to see that if the Sox get him, though. =)

I think Helton will probably put up numbers similar to Will Clark's 1998, which is coincidentally similar to PECOTA's weighted mean projection of .303/.396/.501, 20 HR, 75 BB. Admittedly that's Helton projected as a Rockie, not a Red Sox, so the numbers will probably change if the trade goes through.

2007-01-29 12:45:53
53.   Jim Dean
52 That's the thing - the more I look at his numbers the more I think he was hurt and just plain unlucky last year.

He struck out 64 times in 649 PA against 91 BB.

We'll see. The Rox owner is going on about how they need better talent in return. And the guys they want added are Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen to Tavarez and Lowell.

That's like the Yanks trading Cox and Beam and Vizcaino and Duncan.

I think I'm going to be sick.

2007-01-29 12:49:42
54.   Zack
The latest ESPN article has the Rox owner asking for BOTH MDC and Hansen plus Tavarez and Lowell, and addresses the Atkins weirdness. It also clearly pastes money as not the problem.

If this is the case and the deal goes down as such ( I htink they'll only get one of them in the end mos tlikely) then the issue is less about money and way way way more about the Sox soon to be barren farm system. Hansen, the one time can't miss closer, and MDC, the can't miss set up man, go, leaving the system with Ellsbery, Buchholz, and Bard as top prospects, none of how rate higher than a B (Pedroia, Lester, and Papelbon already being on the team).

Its just one more example of how the Sox are consistantly inconsistant. They say they want to rebuild the farm, and then they destroy it. They say they don't want to spend money, then they do. Losing Hanson AND MDC AND tavarez leaves them very very bullpen weak...

2007-01-29 12:56:58
55.   Zack
You know, its impressive JD, you manage to dominate the banter as pretty much the sole voice of opposition to nearly everything. I suppose that is why. But hey, everything always needs a devils advocate, even in the face of overwhelming unanimity. Me, I prefer to look at it from the perspective of waiting to see the Sox once again implode, rather than "dear God the Yanks MUST counter their every move."
2007-01-29 12:58:08
56.   mehmattski
53 Why the nausea? You would want the Yankees to give up their best reliever prospect (Cox), a proven bullpen arm (Vizcaino), another young effective arm (Beam), and a solid infielder (I'm gonna ignore that Duncan in no way equals Lowell) for an aging, expensive veteran? The Yankees' front office has been going in the opposite direction... personally I think for the better. Maybe for 2007 they are slightly better on offense, but scoring all the runs in the world with your 2 through 5 hitters isn't going to matter when the bullpen just gives them right back.

Payroll flexibility. Youth. Wise Spending. Say these things over and over until you lose your love for aging veterans, Jim.

2007-01-29 13:07:13
57.   Chyll Will
41 I wouldn't use that argument if I were you:

"What wasn't mentioned was that the Texas Rangers had, shortly before signing Rodriguez, negotiated a 10-year, $250 million cable agreement that was widely reported at the time as contingent on the team's signing a major Hispanic star. In all likelihood, the Rangers probably couldn't have made the deal without Rodriguez looming on the horizon. No one would say it, but Texas gave Rodriguez the money from the cable contract in expectation of profits on increased ticket and concession sales."

http://www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0635,barra,74310,15.html (for those who can't handle TinyUrl)

Basically, if Hicks realizes the money's not there to retain Tex, he'll trade him likely at midseason, providing that the Rangers are not in the hunt for anything. That very well could be a card Cashman is waiting to play if something else doesn't surface beforehand.

And if Hicks does hold onto him, so what? Are there any Abreu-type rent-a-players on the market at midseason that? We've got prospects, or as my niece told me some elderly gentleman shrugged while saying to her at a friend's family get-together, "You wanna get married? I've got Mon-ey!"

2007-01-29 13:09:24
58.   Jeteupthemiddle
56 It isn't so much about trading pieces we may not need, it is about the Red Sox also being able to get rid of their own albatross contracts and possibly knock them below the luxury tax threshold.

If the Yankees were to explore such a deal, they would also want the Rockies to pick up the $40M as well as take back the bad contracts the Yankees have.

The remaining bad contracts the Yankees have however (unlike Lowell and Tavarez) are unmoveable.

It would be like sending Farsnworth and Pavano I think. Both pieces, I think, could net something better than Todd "I left my power in Colorado" Helton.

2007-01-29 13:09:29
59.   Jim Dean
55 56 Honestly it has nothing to do with veterans or going against the grain.

The Unit trade was just bad IMHO - not that he shouldn't have been traded.

I have no problem with youth if youth makes sense. For the Yanks at 1B, it doesn't

RH Relievers with live arms are a dime a dozen. They picked up Bruney off the scrap heap. For three of them and one year of Lowell. But I bet the final deal will be one of Delcarmen or Hansen. Yeah, at those prices I take Helton for 50 million. Sure it's five years, but that's less than what they're paying Giambi for the next two.

And I was happy with every move made by Boston this off-season. This one though is going to be scary all year long.

Repeat to yourself: He struck out 64 times in 649 PA against 91 BB.

In that bandbox, Helton is going to have fun. Sad but true.

2007-01-29 13:12:52
60.   JL25and3
54 Zack - I might not mind if Cashman gives Joe a choice between Bernie and pitcher #12. Having some Randy Choate sitting out in the bullpen is such a waste...obviously, a real bench player would be preferable to either.

As for the Sox's consistent inconsistency, you're absolutely right. But the beauty of their position is that RSN just won't care. Craig Hansen will be the next Mariano Rivera...oh, wait, I meant to say Todd Helton's going to hit 70 HR next year. Who's Craig Hansen? And those MFY, spending all that money to get Abreu, always trying to buy pennants!

2007-01-29 13:24:42
61.   Chyll Will
60 Do you believe Cash would force Joe to choose? It would make much sense if he did, and it would be a real interesting dynamic considering that so far they've displayed a hand-in-hand kind of thing for the most part. Cash would have to outwit Joe in such a way that Joe couldn't even complain about it. Any ideas?
2007-01-29 13:28:05
62.   Jim Dean
58 Now that's a great trade I can get behind:

Pavano and Farns for Helton.

The Yanks end up saving 5 million a year for each of the next two years and solve their 1B problem.

Too bad both Meat and Flames are Cashman's guys.

2007-01-29 13:31:25
63.   mehmattski
I'm not sure if you're arguing in hypotheticals, but I hope you're seriously suggesting that Cashman needs to butt into this discussion. See the folks who have posted evidence that Helton will not waive his no-trade clause to play for the Yankees.

Anyway, your numbers and perceptions are also kind of flawed regarding Helton and regarding Fenway Park. In 2006, Coors had a Park Factor of 1.149, second highest in the majors (above 1.0 favors hitters). Fenway, meanwhile, was 13th at 1.031. Further, looking at home runs: there were 1.067 HR/game at Coors in 2006 (10th), but just 0.765 HR/game in Fenway... next to last in the league.

Given that Helton is a left handed hitter who will not benefit from the Green Monster as Lowell did, and also given that Helton hit a rather disgusting .266/.360/.421 on the road last season (with more strikeouts than walks, even- 40 to 38)... I don't see any reason to fear a monster season from Helton in 2007. Solid, perhaps, but not one to stike fear into all Yankees fans.

2007-01-29 13:35:51
64.   mehmattski
er, 63 was a response to 59 in case anyone was confused.
2007-01-29 13:41:40
65.   Jim Dean
The beauty of baseball is we shall see - whether the trade goes through and the effects thereof.

I wish there was a way to bet on outcomes like this. My money is on him having at least a 130 OPS+. The guy simply knows how to put the ball in play but has the extraordinary patience to go with it.

Use whatever stats you want to justify your warm blanket (40 to 38 K:BB ratio as evidence for your point!? Ha!).

2007-01-29 13:42:42
66.   markp
Show me.

Pecota is disregarded by ther rest of the SABR community for two reasons (somebody posted a link to an excellent article about it here last summer):
1. They won't show the rest of the stat world their formula. Every other SABR tool is readily available. EqA, Total average, Bill James original formulas and even his dippy recent one-every one is there for everyone to check. Except Pecota.
2. It's accuracy is nowhere near the better formulas. Every year a very high percentage of their predictions that are substantially different from the mainstream SABR ones are wrong.
Not as accurate and not transparent. I would think this kind of thing would go away, but it doesn't.

BTW SABR types never predicted a bright future for Henson, Ruben Rivera, or any of the other "examples" people that use the term "stat-heads" cite.
Lastly, why do people use things like OPS without park/league/era adjustment and then call others stat-heads? Are you saying using the more informative stats instead of the skewed ones is a bad thing?

2007-01-29 13:48:14
67.   Jim Dean
66 You were also the one saying yesterday that Helton's "never been a great hitter". So now I'm supposed to buy your recommendations? Not that I'm pro-PECOTA or anything - it actually does seem pretty fishy.
2007-01-29 14:00:15
68.   mehmattski
65 There's got to be some reason why he had a 1:1 ratio on the road but a 2:1 BB:K ratio on the road. It hasn't been quite as stark as that but the ratio has been closer to 1:1 on the road in each of the last three seasons. My instinct is to suggest that on the road Helton simply isn't a dangerous hitter anymore (as the .720 road OPS suggests) and pitchers know this and go right after him. In addition, Coors Field also had the 9th highest Walks/Game rate in the majors last season.

OPS+ of 125 seems like a good benchmark to set as an over/under. Take the over if you think his injuries are healed. Take the under if you think he's aging, or think that something other than Park Effects influenced his production prior to 2005...

And right handed relief pitchers may be a dime a dozen, but Theo Epstein seems to have run out of change, since this trade would leave him without many.

2007-01-29 14:01:06
69.   jakewoods
If the Helton deal goes down its pretty safe to say that Luccinno is running things in Beantown and Theo doesnt have the power.
2007-01-29 14:01:17
70.   mehmattski
68 "...but a 2:1 BB:K ratio at home." This must be a sign that it's time to leave work.
2007-01-29 14:03:27
71.   jakewoods
The last thing the Yanks need to do is trade value for an aging 1B on the downside of his career with years and money still on his contract.

Be patient. Use those chips to get something you really need in July like a top notch SP like Zambrano. Why waste it on a 1b especially when you get your sights set on Texiera?

2007-01-29 14:04:52
72.   jakewoods
63

Leftys cant benefit from the Green Monster???

Ask Yaz, Teddy Williams and Wade Boggs about that one.

2007-01-29 14:07:01
73.   Jim Dean
68 Deal.

What are the stakes?

On this end, I offer to shut up for a whole month next off-season.

2007-01-29 14:10:55
74.   standuptriple
70 I'd buy that. It's pretty easy for me to see that opposing pitchers probably have a hard time adjusting to the high alt and the thin air changing the break on their stuff.
So is this how trades are going to be from now on? Leak it out, get an obscene amount of commentary from fan bases/columnists and then either consumated or killed a week later? Because I'm already getting tired of the process.
2007-01-29 14:15:55
75.   markp
Even in Helton's best years, his road stats were nothing exceptional-especially for a 1B. If he played in a neutral park, nobody would be thinking of calling him a great hitter. Manny's a great hitter. For several seasons Giambi was a great hitter. Helton's road OPS has never been at that level.
2007-01-29 14:28:43
76.   JimCobain
74 Not all trades, mostly ones concerning the Red Sox. They love the drama, D-Mat, the Manny dangle every year, etc. Remember the RJ trade was leaked and discussed in public by the Diamondbacks, not the Yankees. The Yankees, since Cashman took complete control, have been tight as a drum. i.e. the Damon signing coming out of no where. But other teams love floating things in the press and taking a "poll" of sorts to see what everyone thinks. It drives me nuts too.
2007-01-29 14:58:31
77.   mehmattski
73 Hmm. I dunno, if it weren't for your posts, how would I waste time at work looking up stats to feed my counter-arguments? ;-)

How about, the loser has to spend one month of the 2007 off-season writing posts as if he were the other. You'd have to write about Karim Garcia and They Might Be Giants and I'd have to pretend I hate Cashman. Deal?

Of course, this bet is only on if Helton's on the Red Sox. And if either of us remembers this in ten months, I'll be surprised.

2007-01-29 15:49:10
78.   OldYanksFan
A RSN view of the Helton issue.
http://insidethemonster.blogspot.com/
2007-01-29 15:52:25
79.   standuptriple
78 I'll pass on the Chicken Little sky-is-falling commentary for the day. I don't really have the stomach for it. I'll go out on a limb and assume it is neither rational nor well thought out.
2007-01-29 18:13:19
80.   Start Spreading the News
79 It was rational and pretty well thought out.
2007-01-29 18:34:30
81.   Jim Dean
75 You mean,

2000: .353 .441 .633

or

2001: .286 .383 .593 with a Gold Glove

or

2003: .324 .435 .514

or

2004: .326 .446 .544 with another Gold Glove

Yeah, he wasn't too good.

77 I'm not sure if that works because if the Yanks win a ring, Cashman is a genius :).

How about: I win, you type a four verse lyrical ode to my greatness for each thread in one week. You win, you get the same from me.

But yeah, it only applies if the Sox get Helton. Otherwise, he easily surpasses 125 OPS+. ;)

2007-01-29 18:41:07
82.   bobtaco
Well, looks like the deal is dead, so no more to argue about...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2747254

2007-01-29 19:13:35
83.   Zack
Well, I guess Mr. Dean will just have to go back to lamenting the lack of a back up catcher and our depth of right handed pitchers, pity...
2007-01-29 19:27:36
84.   Bama Yankee
82 Darn, I was looking forward to reading Jim Dean's (aka "The Sausage Man Without a Cause") lyrical odes to mehmattski's greatness this fall... ;-)

mehmattski, would you really want Rob Gee, I mean Jim Dean, to sing your praises on the Banter? If Mr. Dean is for something it seems like most everyone else is against it.

Sorry Jim, I call 'em like I see 'em, but if I ever need a defense attorney you are the man I'm gonna call. For the record, (don't tell anyone) I was with you on Helton (the Tennessee Vol QB blah, blah, blah notwithstanding).

2007-01-29 19:46:27
85.   Jim Dean
82 Damn. Hopefully the Yanks can swoop in with Pavano and Farns and Beam. After all, it wouldn't be the first time they went the extra mile for their fans.

83 Don't forget about about the utter scrub at UIF and the worst 1B in baseball.

Actually, I feel that rant passing. Though I may reserve the right to bash myself in the face a few times if Jorge misses any significant time.

84 Every one says that I should have been a lawyer. Unfortuntely, I have to have a passion for my subject. Visions of Donnie Baseball 2.0 made it easy.

2007-01-29 19:50:45
86.   RIYank
Jim, it's moot now, but I was shocked that you mentioned 81 Helton's gold glove in his defense (uh, so to speak). Remember who won the AL gold glove at first in 2001?
2007-01-29 22:00:31
87.   markp
It's always convincing when the argument has cherry-picked stats, but let's see:

1999 Giambi .315 .422 .553

2000 Helton 353 .441 .633
Giambi 333 .476 .647
Giambi's 49 points better.

2001 Helton 286 .383 .593
Giambi .342 .477 .660
Giambi's 161(!) points better

2003: Helton .324 .435 .514
2002 Giambi .314 .435 .598
Giambi's 84 points better (without skipping what must have been an off year for Helton.)

Helton's a good hitter made to look great by the park he played in.
Giambi was a great hitter, which is a whole different animal.

2007-01-29 23:10:05
88.   fgasparini
For what it's worth (that's "FWIW" to you internet kids), Kevin Goldstein, who does the prospect stuff for BP, is not a "stats guy." Nor is Will Carroll. They seem to have made a conscious decision to move away from all-statsdom a couple years ago. They still do lots of number analysis, but Goldstein looks at players and works the phones with his contacts (see his recent chat).
2007-01-30 04:03:57
89.   OldYanksFan
Since the Helton deal is dead, and it's getting slow here, I though I might suggest some new thread topics for lively debate:

1) Will Minky do the job this year?
2) M. Cairo: Good enough for 2007
3) Do we really need a GOOD BUC?
4) Cashman: GM of the year candidate?

Any thoughts?

2007-01-30 04:23:34
90.   Jim Dean
87 Cherry picked? That's your criteria - his road stats. Some are better or worse than others. But on the whole I'd say he's much better than "good". But then again, Doniee Baseball was merely "good" too and for only a few seasons - wow just like Helton.

86 Yeah, I know, but baseballreference is free and doesn't list RATE. Still, Helton has won multiple Gold Gloves and the reputation is solid too (except for that interesting bit last year).

89 You mean how the A-Rod trade was dead?

2007-01-30 04:27:53
91.   mikeplugh
89 Okay OYF, I'm in. (Hey y'all. Long time no see.)

1. If by "do the job" you mean, play very good everyday defense and hit .250/.350/.400, then yes he can. (Follow the thread here...)

2. Cairo is good enough for 2007, if "good enough" means above average defense at 2B, league average at SS, and iffy elsewhere while hitting .250/.300/.350. (Keep following...)

3. If a good backup catcher means .250/.315/.400, then we may have that in Wil Nieves. If it means better than that, then we're screwed.

4. Cashman: GM of the year candidate? Candidate? Yes. Winner. Probably no.

One point your missing that will complete my "follow me" thread is Bernie Williams. If we need a 5th outfielder that hits .265/.340/.430, then we have him in Bernie. What we also would have is... wait for it....

...the potential for a Joe Torre lineup in mid-June featuring Bernie in center, Nieves at BUC, Mister Mxyzptlk at first, and Miguel Cairo at 2B. He'd probably send that team out there in Game 2 of a 3 game series with Texas in Arlington, to give the regulars a break. He'd opt for defense over run support, as he'd explain it in the post game press conference after the team loses 6-1 behind Andy Pettitte. Thinking of this makes me all prickly (in a bad way).

2007-01-30 05:16:06
92.   markp
"Cherry picked? That's your criteria" when you choose to skip a year because it doesn't "prove" your point, that's cherry picking. And since you're the one who declined to list Helton's 2002 numbers, it's your "criteria".

Buit even just using the seasons you listed, Giambi blows him away.

What does Mattingly have to do with it? He had seasons where he was 149 points better than everyone else in average or below average hitter's parks. Helton's best seasons he still trails at least one other player by an average of 94 points just using the seasons you selected against the three consecutive by Giambi.
If we're selecting a player's 3 best seasons, let's look at two others from the same era:
1999 .333 .442 .663
2000 .351 .457 .697
2002 349 .450 .647
That's Manny
More recently
2003 .359 .439 .667
2004 .331 .415 .657
2005 .330 .430 .609
2006 .331 .431 .671
that's another great hitter (Pujols).
As I said, Helton's a good hitter, but he's not a great hitter and even in his best years there are players with far better numbers in neutral parks-unless you think 94 points (in the three seasons you selected vs. three consecutive seasons) isn't a big deal.

So far we've learned:
-Helton's not coming here. He won't waive his no-trade to be a Yankee.
-Col has said they aren't trading him.
-They wanted Boston's top two prospects and Lowell from Boston. I don't think anyone wants to trade two of our top pitching prospects and a regular (probably Melky) for him.
-He's had back problems recently and is 34.
-he's not nearly as good a hitter as you portray.
-He has a huge salary with five more years.

I like getting good players for every position. But sometimes the price is too high and the player isn't nearly as good as what we need to give up to get him. Helton certainly fits that description.

2007-01-30 06:19:11
93.   Jim Dean
92 You, sir, said he's "never been a great hitter."

Let's break that down:

never = not ever; at no time in the past or future; "I have never been to China"; "I shall never forget this day"; "had never seen a circus"; "never on Sunday"; "I will never marry you!"

great = relatively large in size or number or extent; larger than others of its kind; "a great juicy steak"; "a great multitude"; "the great auk"; "a great old oak"; "a great ocean liner"; "a great delay"

I was merely showing that, yes, for most seasons he has been "great" irrespective of the park he played in.

I think the word you're actually looking for is:

best -

1. Surpassing all others in excellence, achievement, or quality; most excellent: the best performer; the best grade of ore.

And on that point, I'll argee. Helton's never been the "best" hitter. Still, neither was Donnie Baseball and I'd still take a team of them.

2007-01-30 06:32:40
94.   Jeb
Its all a moot point because he's not going anywhere. Boston thinks they can send their garbage and they can get value in return. I've read practically every comment on here and its hard to say what helton wouldve done in Boston. I think he woud have been very good, especially in that lineup with all the protection around him.

Of course, he would have faced a lot of better pitching in the AL, wouldve missed Coors, and would have further made the sox lineup susceptible to lefthanded pitching.

Frankly, I think adding helton would have made the sox better than the yanks in the short term, worse in the long term and wouldve taken them out of the clemens sweepstakes.

2007-01-30 06:34:50
95.   Shaun P
91 I am glad I read that comment in the morning, Mike, or else I'd have nightmares.

You know Jim, maybe one of the reasons I have so much man-love for Ca$hmoney is because he's achieved something I didn't think possible - the most Torre-proof Yankee roster I've ever seen. No Bernie to play in CF or (shudder) RF. A capable 4th OF, so no washed up veteran OF dreck waiting in the wings if things go horribly wrong (a la T-Ball Long). A plethora of 1B that are OK and should mean Miggy Cairo never plays 1B again. And best of all, no Tanyon Sturtze or equivalent useless veteran dreck in the bullpen for Torre to consistently use in important situations, including the late innings and spot starts. Even if Scott Proctor's arm falls off, there's like 9 other righty pitchers ready to take his place (as you are so fond of pointing out). =)

It is happiness over this that lets me live with Wil Nieves (or even Todd Pratt) and the Stinky Minky-Dandy Andy-Posh Josh firstbase trio.

2007-01-30 06:38:18
96.   Jeb
Its all a moot point because he's not going anywhere. Boston thinks they can send their garbage and they can get value in return. I've read practically every comment on here and its hard to say what helton wouldve done in Boston. I think he woud have been very good, especially in that lineup with all the protection around him.

Of course, he would have faced a lot of better pitching in the AL, wouldve missed Coors, and would have further made the sox lineup susceptible to lefthanded pitching.

Frankly, I think adding helton would have made the sox better than the yanks in the short term, worse in the long term and wouldve taken them out of the clemens sweepstakes.

2007-01-30 06:40:18
97.   Jeb
Guys, sorry for the double post. Blame my blackberry not me!
2007-01-30 07:13:26
98.   markp
MLB defines a great hitter as someone who dominates their league. The reference to the dictionary definition is kind of silly, don't you think? I mean, nobody at Bronx Banter would use the dictionary definition for "a great hitter" since the term is has already been defined (by great hitters like Manny, Pujols, Giambi, Bonds, and the real "great hitters.")
Actually, Mattingly did lead the Al in OPS in 1986. But once again, what does he have to do with Helton?
When you're consistently nearly 100 points behind the guys who are the great hitters in neutral parks, you're not a great hitter. If Helton played in Yankee stadium throughout his career, he'd be recognized for what he was: a good (but not great) hitter.
2007-01-30 07:25:42
99.   Jim Dean
95 You are correct sir! Though I'd argue the 1998 Yanks were a bit more Torre-proof, but then that's the gold standard.

The only improvement, I think would be having a legit 1B and no Cairo. As it is, there will be games MCI starts against a lefty and Cairo starting at all but hopefully those will be few and far between.

And there's still time yet to sign Bernie to muck up everything! Still Cashman brought in Long last year so I'll reserve full happy tones until Thompson and Beam are the first reinforcements called upon. It's just after that (in the IF especially) that things could get ugly, really ugly.

The bullpen - this is true. Going into the season though Proctor and Bruney would seem high on the guts list long after their performance suggests they should be buried.

2007-01-30 07:37:35
100.   Jim Dean
98 You're talking about the "best" hitters and then saying the guys one step below aren't "great". That's a pretty backwards way of doing things and that's where the dictionary is necessary. You're reading the meaning of one into the other.

Helton's career road OPS is 900. I feel very comfortable very calling that "great" esp. with everything else he's done (at home and at 1B). If he played his whole career at Yankee stadium he would have been the second coming of Donnie Baseball.

Helton would have been a fine pickup at 50 million but not the now reported 65. Go Stinky Phelps Phillips!

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-01-30 09:16:37
101.   OldYanksFan
91 Mike... Mike... Daddy... You're back! [Manhug here]. Wifey must be feeling better.
However, you may have to choose between being a father or debating Jim Dean. They are both full time jobs.
2007-01-30 09:18:06
102.   OldYanksFan
P.S. Post 89 was really me being obnoxious, and lighting a firecracker up Jim's A*s
2007-01-30 09:18:52
103.   standuptriple
What? BOS doesn't get another team to roll over to their demands? A team wants fair market value for their franchise player? How dare they?
/pats self on back
Listening to XM they brought up a decent point. Why would COL want to dump a guy who had a down year with that many years (and if he's still productive like they claim) when his market value would be higher? Methinks they have some insight and don't like his chances going forward. Otherwise why not let him prove his value this year and make the trade next year when $'s keep rising, his RoR is potentially greater and the receiving team is on the hook for 1 less year? It could be that they were testing Helton and the market but baseball has a tendency to hang on to the visions of players former glory a little too long while their actual production rapidly declines. I do hope Helton has a good year in '07 (especially now).
2007-01-30 09:40:59
104.   OldYanksFan
P.S.S. However, since you bit....
1) I believe Minky will post a .750 OPS or better. Pathetic.. but enough not to hold us back
2) Lets not forget that Miggy is an OUTSTANDING baserunner (check out his career SB vs. CS stats. Better then Jeter) and his RISP BA is often better then his average BA. At least it's something positive
3) God only knows. Maybe Pratt with experience rebirth
4) I'm happy with the guy. I haven't been this excited about team direction and the future anytime this decade
5) I hope Bernie will accept a MiLB position, and see if Giambi or an OFer gets injured. If one of those 4 goes down, I can live with Bernie... solely for old times sake, and hope he announces his retirement for after the season in Sept.

Helton was a great hitter at Coors, a veryexcellent hitter elsewhere. Helton WAS a premiere player. Don't argue over the word 'Great'. Its getting silly.

What Helton will be in 2007 could go either way. In park-neutral stats, he could have a .920 OPS or an .820 OPS. Neither would surprise anybody. Debating the point is silly. In 2009-2011, in park-neutral terms, it's anyone's guess. Some people recover/get past back injuries (Vlad), some people are ruined by them (Donnie).

In 2007 and 08, Helton would probably help either the Yanks or the Sox (IF Tex doesn't sign instead). The cost of Helton in 2009 and beyond? Very questionable. I think you need to know the Yankees gameplan for the next few years, to have an educated opinion.

2007-01-30 09:52:33
105.   wsporter
104 "I think you need to know the Yankees gameplan for the next few years, to have an educated opinion." OYF, that maybe the smartest observation I've seen written in days.
2007-01-30 10:21:50
106.   Jim Dean
104 #5: It's comments like those that make me think in your years you've inhaled a bit too much Ben-gay (especially since you're thinking about my a#$) or you've got something extra in your oxygen tank.

Yeah, Bernie's going to hang around Scranton and wait to be called up, slowly strumming his guitar for the rooks.

The question is: What gameplan?

You mean like the one to replace all the aging players. Like the one to replace Bernie that took three years past his due date to implement?

Or you obviously mean the one to replace Jorge? Oh wait...

No it must be the one to replace Giambi? I'll hope with you about Teixeira though he will be expensive. Keep in mind that this is now year 2 of the "scrubs at 1B" plan.

Sure I feel good about all the RHP prospects. But let's not go crazy assuming some grand master plan, when Cashman's had plenty of time and opportunity to show us one. "Acquire more pitching" should only be one part of a plan - not the whole thing.

2007-01-30 10:29:02
107.   standuptriple
Has the "Jim Dean complaining about Ca$h's RHP aquisitions" quota been met today?
2007-01-30 10:48:14
108.   Jim Dean
107 Yes - now it has. And what people keep calling me out, and specifically by name. It was realy close to dying down too with Helton.

But for upteenth time - it's just the Unit trade that make me want to puke. The Shef deal I liked. And while they could have gotten more for Wright, that's minor.

2007-01-30 11:25:34
109.   Jeb
Let's look at heltons last 5 years in terms of win shares. I say this because what he did during those last 5 years bears a greater relationship to what he'll do in 2007 than what he did from 1997 to 2001. Here goes

2002-27
2003-34
2004-30
2005-25
2006-21

So here's a guy who is 34, has injury questions, has played in one of the top hitters parks for years AND has never been a great road hitter in the NL. I guess I wonder why anyone would think that he's going to revert to 2003.

I'm not saying he can't be productive or that he wouldn't be better than stinky minky, but I just don't think the yanks should get that wrapped up into a guy that's owed tha much money for so many years. If the sox want to have a "win now" attitude, then I say go ahead.

Incidentally, bill James projects him as a .322 avg, .433 obp, .543 slg, and .977 ops this year with 25 hrs (albeit at coors), and he's projected to have a low injury risk so maybe James and his minions know something I don't.
The same book has drew as a high risk of injury

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