Tuesday, January 30, 2007

GMs' Relations Strained Even Before Helton Talks

The collapse of Colorado's proposed deal to dump white elephant Todd Helton on Boston likely will add to mounting frustration between the two teams, if press reports coming out of Beantown are to be believed.

According to Rupert Murdoch's Boston Herald, Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein had already strained their relationship in 2005, when Epstein backed out of a deal involving Rockies underperforming outfielder Larry Bigbie, who later was dumped on St. Louis; and promising Pawtucket backstop Kelly Shoppach, who ultimately went to Cleveland as part of the Coco Crisp deal. Boston outfield prospect Adam Stern was also reported as part of the negotiation, though it seemed other details were missing (www.BostonHerald.com.)

The Helton negotiations reportedly had been going on for months behind the scenes, with Helton originally going to the Red Sox in some sort of deal involving the heavily shopped Manny Ramirez.

But in the final analysis, the deal collapsed because of difficulties associated with a complicated formula in which the Rockies would have paid off significant portions of the $90.6 million remaining on Helton's $141 million contract. The final blow was O'Doud's inability to persuade the Red Sox to give up prospects from a list that included Manny Del Carmen, Craig Hansen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Danny Bard.

Though multiple news outlets reported Boston agreeing to give up declining veteran Mike Lowell and tempestuous reliever Julian Tavarez, O'Dowd supposedly insisted on acquiring a potential impact player in exchange for Helton. Helton perhaps is more valued by Rockies fans than by the team, and his followers would not have been pleased to see him go cheaply .