In the Rockpile: Todd Helton to the DL; is it time to retire?
Colorado added another player to the disabled list; this time it was DL frequent and franchise great, Todd Helton. Todd’s current trip to the DL is for season-ending hip surgery. Adding onto his long list of physical ailments, Todd’s hip hasn’t held up well this season, already requiring a DL stint that he recently came back from.
There has been plenty of chatter for and against Helton retiring, which needs some addressing: Todd will play again next season. He already announced he will return for next season, and I think rightfully so. I’ve lobbied that Todd should retire, but on his own terms. If Todd is going to hang up his gold glove, rack his silver slugger bat and put his NLCS ring in a box, it will be when he is ready. If anyone thinks a club that is committed to keeping GM Dan O’Dowd in the front office is going to force the longest-tenured star of the club into retirement, they are dead wrong.
Todd should get the exact same treatment that Chipper Jones and other retiring stars have enjoyed; 17 has most certainly earned it. While Helton is not enjoying this season and neither is his batting average, he is still defensively sound, one of the leaders of the clubhouse and certainly the greatest player in club history.
The Rockies also do not have many long-term options at first base. Michael Cuddyer could make the switch to first base, but that isn’t a long-term plan. Jordan Pacheco could find himself there, but would need more time. Jason Giambi isn’t a very good first baseman and is long in the tooth as well. Todd is the most experienced first baseman and the only viable option unless they school up Pacheco or someone else. Besides, does anyone think the Rockies are going to make a turnaround next season, to the degree that Todd is the one holding the team back? It is doubtful, unless you ask the front office.
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