Rockies stand pat

Dec 12, 2006 7:28 AM

With players jumping all over the place and millions being handed out for mediocrity, it figured that Colorado would stand pat.

The Rockies have never been one to open their wallets wide in the free agent market, yet are in the unique position of figuring out what to do with their best player Todd Helton.

You see, in the wacky world of baseball finance, Helton has five years and $90 million left on his $136M contract. The Denver Post reported at the recent Winter Meetings in Orlando, that the Rockies’ first baseman and franchise player was being courted by Anaheim until they saw the price tag. Also, Helton has a no-trade clause, meaning he would have to agree to any deal.

That’s one very solid reason why the Rockies opened 75-1 at the MGM Grand to win the 2007 World Series and haven’t budged since the line first came out Oct. 20.

Ownership believes in spending from within, re-signing ace lefty Jeff Francis and probably holding on to steady right-handed starter Jason Jennings. The Post reported that Jennings is balking at the club’s three-year, $24 million offer for now.

Management reportedly was interested in pitchers Andy Pettitte and Jon Garland, but came away empty when Pettitte opted for a return to the Yankees and Garland re-signed with the White Sox.

Still, the Rockies possess one of the major’s youngest teams, with a host of players capable of 20 HR, 100 RBI seasons. The best of the bunch are outfielder Matt Holliday (34 HR) and third baseman Garrett Atkins (.329 BA, 120 RBI). Helton along with Francis (13 wins), Jennings (3.27 ERA) and closer Brian Fuentes (30 saves) form a nucleus that puts Colorado right in the muddled for competitive NL West picture.

MGM lists the Rockies at 35-1 to win the NL pennant. At the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook, you can place a futures bet on Colorado at 100-1 to win the World Series.

Hey, for a while last year Colorado went from worst in 2005 to first until the team went back to its old form of losing two of every three road games.

At least the Rockies develop their talent, something rare in this day of win now at all cost.